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Playing Foodball: Teens and kids lead the way in Mount Si High School’s long-running, ambitious charity drive
“Action,” says the director, Mount Si High School senior Joey Dunning. “Go.”
A Santa-hatted Ally Schwabe strides onto the set, carrying a canned-food box.
“What’s this?” says fellow student Jesse Guyer, already there and waiting, a ‘Grinch’ sign on her neck.
“This,” says Schwabe, “is the Foodball.”
“The what-a-what-y?” improvises Guyer.
“It’s a food drive we do annually to raise money for local food banks,” Schwabe explains to the camera.
Behind the lens, Dunning and two other boys, Tommy Petty and Vincent DeDomenico, have volunteered their time.
The trio are here to whip up an animated short to be broadcast to the entire student body. Exactly as Schwabe tells it, Foodball is a teen-led food drive that helps the Mount Si Food Bank, Fall City Food Pantry and Encompass’ Respectful Giving Campaign. Beginning as a charitable rivalry between Mount Si and Cedarcrest high school, the drive has happened every holiday season for more than 15 years, and gets into high gear this month with a “Fill the Truck” drive at the North Bend Safeway on Saturday, Dec. 14 and drives at Snoqualmie Valley elementary schools, starting December 5.
“This is our big job,” says Schwabe, who, as head of the Mount Si Associated Student Body’s campus improvement committee, chairs the drive, the committee’s main yearly project.
“It’s a lot of work, because it’s hard to get the word out,” she said.
With luck, this video, and word of mouth, will help the drive reach its ambitious goal of 15,000 pounds by December 14.
Last year, the drive brought in 12,000 pounds. About half of that came from elementary schoolers, whose schools hold canned food drives beginning December 5.
“It’s crazy how much food they bring in,” Schwabe said.
High schoolers collect the rest, and much of it comes from the weekend “Fill the Truck” events held at Valley supermarkets.
Schwabe is the only member of the committee who was on the “Fill the Truck” detail last year. She remembers the challenge.
The day can be long and cold as ASB members ask for, then stack donations, and build up the confidence to approach strangers and hand out shopping lists. Stores, though, make it easier by assembling a sack of goods for the truck. All shoppers need to do is buy and drop off.
A particular focus this year is cash donations. That’s more versatile for the organizations, who can then buy the products they need, explains Schwabe.
Foodball’s student leaders know it’s for a good cause.
“It stays in the Valley, so we’re helping the community,” said Schwabe.
“They do a lot for us,” said senior Kylie McLaughlin, who sees how the community has always helped Mount Si. “It’s a good way for us to give back.”
• To help with Mount Si foodball, bring canned food to the Fill the Truck event at North Bend Safeway on Dec. 14, or encourage your child to bring food or a money donation to school.
Collecting food from customers at the North Bend QFC, Mount Si High School ASB members Duncan Kelly, Adam Husa, Erin Antoch, Christina Fischer and Jack Hunt perch on the tailgate of a slowly filling truck. Valley teens have run the Foodball goods and cash drive for about 15 years.
Students helping lead the annual Foodball drive at Mount Si are, from left, front row, Kylie McLaughlin, Ally Schwabe, Jesse Guyer and Duncan Kelly. These ASB officers starred in an animated video, loosely inspired by “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” urging participation by teens. At rear are Tommy Petty, Vincent DeDomenico and Joey Dunning, all part of a digital media class at Mount Si, who volunteered to make a video short promoting the holiday drive.
Jesse Guyer gets into her ‘Grinch makeup with help from Kylie McLaughlin.
Cast members go over their lines.