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Food drive and Penny Wars at MMS

Mr. Bazey's TA donated the most food and personal care items out of any TA at Meyer Middle School and earned the opportunity to load and deliver the items, as well as present the check to the River Falls Community Food Pantry. Submitted photo

Meyer Middle School students are encouraged to contribute to their own success while helping others each and every day by being an active listener, doing their best, being kind to others, and having fun. Keeping true to those points, students at MMS rose to the challenge and battled hunger as they once again participated in the annual food drive and Penny Wars to benefit the River Falls Community Food Pantry.

Each day, students learned a little bit about the food pantry. On average, the food pantry is able to buy $5 worth of food with every $1 donation they receive. The needs of the community were evident, and the students helped do their part to provide for the more than 400 visitors the food pantry has each month.

Each TA classroom collected food items Nov. 13-17. Whichever TA had collected the most items by the end of class Friday morning was rewarded with the opportunity to help out even further. This year the food drive culminated with Mr. Bazey's TA earning the honor to help box up, load, deliver, unload and weigh the collected items. In total, staff and students collected and donated 1,383 pounds of food and personal care items.

During the same week, the school also held a Penny War promotion as a second means of collecting for the food pantry. In this competition, each TA competed against one another in their grade levels and different houses. The goal was to raise "positive money" for their classrooms; with pennies and checks counting as positive amounts, and any other coins or bills counting as negative money. The TA classrooms battled it out by bringing positive money for their own jar, while dumping silver coins and bills in the jars of competing TA classrooms. At the end of the Penny Wars, the highest overall earner was rewarded with the opportunity to play some battleball games in a culminating activity the afternoon before Thanksgiving break.

The winning TAs from the Blue House, along with participating staff, competed against the winning TAs and staff from the Gold House. It was a great way to cap off the weeklong competition, and to celebrate the generosity and tremendous character these students have.

In total, students raised $6,055.62 in five days. In only its fifth year, the annual Penny War has raised a total of $26,314.78.