OCIS students collect cans for the Food Cupboard

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OCEAN CITY — The Super Bowl buffet is pretty amazing: according to the Wall Street Journal, Americans consume 100 million pounds of chicken wings – that’s 125 billion wings, enough to circle the Earth more than twice. Tortilla chips are hot, too: 43.2 million pounds, or 96 Statues of Liberty.

Pizza: 4.4 million pies from Pizza Hut, Domino’s and Papa John’s alone, more than five pies to feed every man, woman and child in the Super Bowl host city of Indianapolis. Not to mention 13.2 million pounds of pretzels, 45.8 million pounds of potato chips and 8 million pounds of guacamole.

Even carrot consumption goes up that famous Sunday, by about 25 percent. The Super Bowl rivals Thanksgiving in terms of food consumption, but not for everyone. Some still go to bed hungry.

That didn’t sit well with students at the Ocean City Intermediate School, so the Student Council decided to do something about it.

In the week leading up to the Super Bowl, the students in grades fourth through eighth participated in “Touchdowns for Hunger,” collecting over 1,200 cans of food for the Ocean City Food Cupboard.

“We wanted them to see another purpose for the Super Bowl,” said Megan Duffy, a sixth grade teacher who serves as the advisor for Student Council. “Every day we provided a different statistic about how much Americans consume on game day. We talked about hunger, and how fortunate we are.”

While most of America was in a celebratory mood as the excitement about the game started building, Duffy said the students were asked to think about others.

“We’re planning parties and talking about rooting for our favorite team, but others are worried about putting food on the table and feeding their families,” Duffy said. “We’re having a good time, but there are people who can’t eat. The Touchdown for Hunger was a nice way of helping the students to think about others.”

If students brought in five cans of food, they were permitted to sport a hat featuring their favorite football team. They collected more cans and were permitted to wear football Jerseys. Within a short time, the school was filled with color and logos.

It wasn’t just for school spirit or a fan-frenzy; it was to build awareness and line the shelves at the Food Cupboard.

“We had a contest to see which classroom could bring in the most cans,” Duffy said. “There was a tie.”

Debbie Volato and Debbie Rossander’s classrooms each brought in 161 cans. Patty Mallas’s class was second with 130 and Chris Nunan’s class was third with 102 cans.

“The statistics aren’t good,” Duffy said, adding that about 925 million people went hungry while the rest of America partied. “We’re trying to build an awareness; it was a nice school-wide service project.

“I think it’s really cool that the students were able to collect that many cans in five school days,” she said. “They really got excited about it. They were excited about the game, too, of course, but this was something that they could be a part of, helping others.”

Duffy said Student Council sponsors numerous community service projects throughout the year. “We have coat drives, we do all kinds of things to help others,” she said.

Since the Food Cupboard is always in need of staples such as peanut butter and jelly, students were offered a discount at a Student Council sponsored dance if they brought in a jar of either.

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