Food drive hopes to grow, sparks competition


By Amanda Stickels, executive online editor
Service Learning Coordinator and Service Club Sponsor Erik Hammerstrom took over the annual food drive this year with the goal of making it bigger.
Slowly, Hammerstrom has been trying to grow the food drive to the same size as some other District 214 schools such as Hersey, who has around 50,000 cans each year, or Elk Grove, who has around 30,000 cans each year. Since it’s Hammerstrom’s first year, he used this year as a learning year to figure out how to run the food drive, but next year he plans to expand more.
Hammerstrom met with Hersey’s service club sponsor to find out new ways to motivate students and the community to participate in the food drive. He found that Hersey does a “bag-and-tag” in which they leave bags on people’s doors with a note telling them about the food drive. Then on a later date, students pick up the bags that are filled with cans. Hammerstrom hopes to bring this to Prospect in the next few years.
He hopes to make this change and also more changes, such as getting sports teams involved, and has high hopes for the future.
“Maybe next year we can hit 20,000 or 15,000 or more,” Hammerstrom said. “There’s no reason we can’t, and it would be nice to see us hit that level and help a lot of people. Not to compare to Elk Grove or Hersey, but just because we know it can be done,”
Although it will take some time to make major expansions to the food drive, there have been some changes this year. For example, the goal this year is 10,000 cans, which amounts to five cans per student.
Also, the competition aspect has expanded. The division, such as the math and science division, with the most cans will be awarded the Golden Can, and the class with the most cans and the class with the highest student-to-can ratio will get a breakfast provided by Hammerstrom.
Social science teacher Tim Beishir and his AP Government class hope to win with their total of 711 cans. Beishir says he always gets excited for the food drive because he took part in running the food drive when he was in high school and hopes to win back the coveted food drive championship belt, which is awarded to the teacher of the class with the most cans each year.
He believes that the competition aspect really benefits the food drive.
“It makes my job, to motivate the kids, easier, like, ‘oh we have to beat such and such,’” Beishir said.
Hammerstrom agrees that the competition definitely helps the food drive, and it allows students to give back in a way that is easy and fun. He loves seeing the school and community coming together for a good cause.
“We have a lot to be proud of at Prospect, regardless of the numbers; it doesn’t matter. Anything’s better than nothing, and if we hit our goal, that’s fantastic. If we don’t, we don’t, but everyone wins anyway,” Hammerstrom said.