Oct 20, 2015 - Things to Do

Charlotte-area students compete to collect food for the Carolinas Student Hunger Drive



I am a teacher. As such, I have a unique opportunity to see kids in our area doing good It is for this reason that I count myself lucky to work where I do. Especially during months like this.

October 5 marked the kick-off for the annual Student Hunger Drive (SHD) for schools all around the Charlotte region. This event embodies all that is good and right with teens today. Per the organization’s website, the SHD is “a 6-week competition between participating local high schools to see who can collect the most pounds of food per student through campus events, contests and other community collection activities.” Originally founded in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois in 1986, the SHD arrived in the Carolinas 5 years ago. Since then, students in our area have collected more than 530,000 pounds of food which have helped feed more than 300,000 people right here in the Carolinas. Amazing.


You may be wondering:

“What is the Student Hunger Drive?”
“How does it work?”
“Who’s involved?”
“How can I support the cause?”

What is the Student Hunger Drive?


The Student Hunger Drive states as its mission to “promote volunteerism, leadership, and community involvement within student leaders and high schools” by challenging kids to take ownership of fundraising and can collecting at schools. Here in the Carolinas, organizers of the competition cite their additional goals: “inspiring high school students to servant leadership and philanthropy, raising awareness of the hunger crisis and food scarcity, and reducing the number of hungry children and families in our communities.” In other words, the SHD is a great cause which gets kids motivated to help others while spreading the word about a very real issue affecting our community.

How does it work?


Students in participating schools have six weeks to collect as many cans per student as possible through donations based on a variety of fundraisers created by the students themselves. Students brainstorm and execute all activities with only the support of teachers and others in their community; in addition to collecting donations, students leaders help educate other students about food-related issues facing our region.

The drive runs from October 5 – November 16. Students at participating schools have the chance to win cash prizes which their schools can use to help fund projects, buy supplies, or invest in future outreach opportunities. Prizes range from $500-$2,000, both for individual students and advisors, to whole-school awards, and are given out at the closing ceremony on November 16 at Second Harvest Food Bank. Prizes can be won not only for cans gathered, but also for students’ creativity in spreading the word about their the food crisis in our area and their efforts to help make it better.

Who’s involved?

Schools throughout the Charlotte region are given the chance to participate. Below is the full list of this year’s participants:

Fort Mill School District:

  • Fort Mill High School
  • Nation Ford High School

Cabarrus County Schools:

  • Cannon School (Upper School)
  • Hickory Ridge High School
  • Cabarrus-Kannapolis Early College High School
  • Cox Mill High School
  • Northwest Cabarrus High School

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools:

  • Ardrey Kell High School
  • Butler High School
  • East Mecklenburg High School
  • North Mecklenburg High School
  • South Mecklenburg High School
  • Hopewell High School
  • Providence High School
  • Independence High School
  • Myers Park High School

At the close of the Student Hunger Drive in November, all cans collected will be donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina which serves 19 counties in our area across Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, and Fort Mill.

How can I support the cause?

If you don’t have school-aged children, or if your child’s school isn’t participating in this year’s drive, fear not! There’s still plenty of time for you to get involved, and a handful of ways to do so. Just reach out to a school on the list located near you. Whether that be a school in your neighborhood, one you pass each morning your way to work, or even just a school way across town near your dear Aunt Sally’s house. Just reach out, find out how they’re planning to bring in cans and cash, and ask how you can help (trust me, they’ll gladly take you up on the offer!).

If you don’t want to take my word for it, take a few moments to watch the video below, made by and starring students at Cannon School in Concord where I teach. This is just one example of the impact kids can have and are having every day, and it’s sure to make you want to get out there and do something.


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