JAMESTOWN — Greeneview won the battle, but those without enough food were the grand prize winners during the Battle of 72 FFA Food Drive.
During the third annual battle, the Cedarville and Greeneview high school FFA programs competed to see who could collect the most canned foods — which will go to Cedarville and Jamestown food pantries. It was a friendly competition between the schools — separated by 12 miles along S.R. 72 — which shared a common goal of helping feed the hungry.
Greeneview was announced as the winner at halftime of the recent Cedarville-Greeneview boys basketball game and received the travelling Golden Dinner Bell. The schools combined to collect more than 1,500 cans — a record.
“It was just crazy to see how many people came together and helped the community,” said Greeneview FFA President Tori Chaney. “I was just shocked and grateful for how much both schools brought in.”
Chaney said she didn’t know who won until right before the announcement was made.
“Everyone just started clapping, shouting,” she said. “They were all excited.”
Cedarville FFA President Jackson Ryman said the food drive shows that FFA isn’t just “sows, cows, and plows.”
“We can bring the community together to help people who are in more need,” he said. “And have a friendly competition. I’m proud of the amount we collected. I hope in future years we can even collect even more.”
The battle began three years ago when a local pantry put out a request for food donations.
“The food pantries were low and there really wasn’t any income,” Chaney said, adding that FFA regularly performs community service work.
The schools spread the word through flyers and morning announcements. It caught on so well that it became an annual event between the schools.
“Whether people brought it in for the food drive or the competition … that’s just amazing,” said senior FFA member Meghan Snyder.
Ryman said some faculty and residents also brought canned goods, making it a true community event.
“This is a win-win for both communities,” said Greeneview FFA advisor Doug Wickline.
Greeneview added a little incentive by having grade-level competitions, with the winning grade getting to smash Wickline in the face with a pie.
The cans collected by Greeneview — more than 1,000 — were stuffed into Wickline’s truck which provided some comic relief.
“While we were loading the cans, I thought it was funny because if he got in a wreck, one of the cans would take him out,” said senior Audra Downing.
Plans are already being made for next year’s food drive, when the winner will be announced at Cedarville High School.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.