Check out the great article from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram by Bob Ray Sanders!
When two area football teams meet on the gridiron this month, regardless of the final score an entire community will win.
The Trinity Trojans and L.D. Bell Blue Raiders, longtime rivals in the Hurst Euless Bedford school district, have teamed up for a great cause that will bring special meaning to their annual face-off October 18 at Pennington Field.
As a result of their efforts and the work of students throughout the district, more area families will be able to put food on the table.
The Black & Blue Showdown (named for the high schools' colors) is a district-wide food drive that grew out of a seventh-grade English assignment. The task for the students was to choose a problem in the world, research it, write about it and contact someone who can help solve it.
Allison Okruch, now an eighth-grader at Bedford Junior High, discovered there was poverty in her own community, a fact unnoticed by many of her fellow students. She sent a letter to Scott Sheppard, executive director of 6 Stones, a nonprofit organization providing food, clothing and others services to address community needs.
“I'm writing this letter to make people aware of the child poverty right in their own back yard,” Allison wrote last May. “A child having to live in poverty in their life is a major issue affecting the way children learn, grow up and plan out their future.”
Sheppard said 6 Stones historically has done food drives at games, but Allison's letter convinced him to “take it to the next level.”
A 1980 graduate of Trinity, Sheppard said that when he was in school he didn't know there was poverty in the area and didn't know what a “free or reduced-price lunch” was. Although many don't think of the HEB district serving large numbers of poor children, he noted that 55 percent of its students receive free or reduced-price school meals.
With the cooperation of the school district, the food drive will involve not only the two high schools, but also all the elementary and junior highs that feed into them. The two pyramids will compete to see which one brings in the greatest amount of food.
“Most of the food is going to end up back on the tables of their peers,” Sheppard said.
The friendly competition between schools has generated a lot of enthusiasm, said Scott Hurbough, Allison's principal at Bedford Junior High. He and the principal of Bedford's rival, Harwood Junior High, have a bet on which school will perform the best during the drive. The loser has to wear the t-shirt of the winning school for a day.
Students already have been collecting canned food and other nonperishables, and Sheppard said businesses will get involved with sponsorships. Many will donate money instead of food, he said, and after the drive some of the students will go grocery shopping to help stock the group's food pantry.
Allison said she had no idea her letter would lead to this kind of major event, and she's excited so many people are participating.
There are more than 20,000 students in the HEB district, and all the schools have their supporters. If the community comes together around this worthy project, as I think it will, this should be an overwhelmingly successful food drive. In addition to helping feed needy families, it will teach students they can make a difference in people's lives.
So, on the night of the game, fans are invited to bring food donations along with their team spirit.
Don't have time to shop?
All cash & online donations will be spent at a local grocer during a shopping spree led by students from the winning high school.
*Please select the school you wish to receive credit (Trinity / Bell). All donations are tax-deductible.
To credit an elementary or junior high, place the name of the school in the comments section.