Since 1996, public schools in Anne Arundel County Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) have raised more than 6 million pounds of food for the Anne Arundel County Food Bank during its annual Harvest for the Hungry food and funds drive.
This year, Anne Arundel County Public Schools (AACPS) collected the equivalent of 164,550 pounds of food with three Severna Park schools placing in the top five of total food and funds collected.
Out of 103 public schools in Anne Arundel County that participated in this school year’s campaign, Severna Park High School (SPHS) came out on top, raising $14,759 and collecting 860 pounds of food, for a combined total of 15,619 equivalent pounds of food.
Students from the Key Club were the main drivers behind the school’s success. They hosted numerous events throughout October and mapped out ways to encourage participation from the entire school.
“One club focused its efforts on running the Harvest for the Hungry campaign,” said Elizabeth Meadow, advisor for the Severna Park Key Club and Harvest for the Hungry coordinator. “It’s one of our big projects and these students help push it and really get it going. Student-led made a big difference.”
Each year, SPHS students set ambitious goals, and each dollar raised is tracked on a poster displayed in the school’s lobby. During their spirit week, students raised more than $2,000 with the Dollar Dash, held food drives at football games and raised money through candy grams and boo grams. However, the biggest success was the competition between advisory classes, which brought in the bulk of their fundraising dollars.
“The Harvest for the Hungry Food Drive is an important campaign for Anne Arundel County Public Schools and our students,” said Cynthia Bischoff, family involvement specialist at AACPS. “Our students are brimming with kindness and want to help others. This food drive gives them the chance to help other families in our community in a way they can see the results by bringing in food and funds themselves. It's so fun to see them get into the spirit of giving.”
Leah Paley serves as the CEO of the Anne Arundel County Food Bank, and she praised the support her organization receives from partners like the students of AACPS.
“The number of people coming to our local food pantries has almost tripled since the years prior to the onset of the pandemic, and with the high cost of food and other basic necessities, food insecurity remains a serious hardship for many people in our community,” Paley said.
To learn more about food insecurity in Anne Arundel County and how you can get involved, visit www.aafoodbank.org.