OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — According to Harvesters, one in six children are food insecure. The greatest number of them in the Kansas City metro area live in Wyandotte County, Kansas.
Recently, a friendly competition aimed to help put food on their plates.
For six weeks, students at Bethany Lutheran School competed with each other not in sports, but in food.
It was a race to see which class could collect the most non-perishable food items.
"It was kind of fun to track along cause if you do a competition , everybody's more into it," 8th grader Christopher Rauth said.
"When we were all walking downstairs, and we saw just all the food there. It took up almost half the hallway," 13-year-old Luke Fries said.
Through this competition, 3,000 items were collected for Immanuel Food Pantry.
While students were eager to see who finished first, the food pantry was the real winner. It's now able to provide more for the families it serves through the donations.
"What they brought in was a lot," said Deb Hartje, who oversees the pantry. "We actually had 58 sign up last week, but we started to run out, and so this replenishes us for a good while."
The pantry partners with Harvesters, and according to the organization, child food insecurity rate is the highest in these five counties:
- Wyandotte County (23.7%)
- Henry County, Missouri (22.6%)
- Bates County, Missouri (22.0%),
- Franklin County, Kansas (21.3%), and
- Ray County, Missouri (20.9%).
That's why the kids at Bethany Lutheran stepped up to help.
"It may seem kind of small, but it's like a big impact, and it's really big to other people, like helping them get food and things that they need," 8th grader Lilly Hommer said.
As students stocked the shelves, arranging the thousands of items in a specific order, they said it's not about winning, but about giving.
"I think it's really cool that even though I might not ever meet everyone that goes here, I'll know that they have food on their table that can survive," Rauth said.
"You never know what's going on in someone's life that could be having struggles, family-wise, food-wise, anything. And you just never know that so it's always great just to help out whoever," Fries said.
The food pantry plans to give out the donated food items on Tuesday morning.