RHS food drive ends with success

Rogers’ first March Madness-style food drive comes to an end as teachers share the planning and strategizing that went on.


AVID students carry the food drive items to the front of the school to get ready to transport them to a local food pantry.

Rogers’ spring food drive ended with the Support Center winning the March Madness food drive, and English teacher Jeff Nusser winning the overall title with the most points.

The organizers of the food drive consider this year’s drive to be very successful. By the end of it, two classrooms were filled with almost 30,000 points worth of donated food, all of which has been sent out to the local Salvation Army and the RHS food pantry to help aid the community and the families of RHS students. 

Multiple donated food items filling a classroom.
One of the two classrooms filled with donated food items.

Shannon Koepfler, a teacher who helped in organizing the food drive, considered this year’s drive to be successful even before it was over.

“Participation this year has been amazing,” Koepfler said midway through.” I don’t know if it’s because students and staff are super competitive, or if we are just really more focused on giving back to the community since COVID, but we have basically an entire room of food at this point, and we still have the rest of this thing to go.” 

Rebekah Leonardy, an English teacher who made it deep in the bracket, shares the success in her class’s involvement. 

“We’ve had food drives here almost every year, but my class has never gotten this far in any kind of a food drive competition,” Leonardy said. “It’s fun to watch the excitement on my kids’ faces.”

Classes were eager to win, so, many of them devised plans.

Nusser won the entire food drive with a total of about 6,000 points, and he says he strategized to try and win.

“Yes, I schemed,” Nusser said. “The first couple matchups we did, we donated very little, kind of trying to stockpile a little bit. And then we kind of went all out for counseling, beat them a little bit. Went all out for Clise, didn’t beat him and his class.”

Other strategies Nusser used to win involved soliciting donations from outside of school and hiding donated items in his car to prevent any other classes finding out how many donations their room had. 

However, Nusser wasn’t the only one who strategized plans during the food drive. Competition rose between many other classes and inspired students and teachers to strategize plans in order to beat their opponent and move up in the bracket. Some of these plans included teachers asking all their class periods to donate instead of just their second period.

“I know of some other people – or at least one other person – who solicited donations from others,” Nusser said. “I know Mr. Clise did not only take donations from only his second period class. There were other periods involved with supplying him for food.”

Other plans included sending out “spies” to check other classes’ boxes.  

“I know for a fact there was one [spy],” Leonardy said, “because someone in my sixth period on Monday just told me she was a spy for one of her teachers.”

The class with the second highest number of points will win donuts, and the class with the highest will win a pizza party, along with their teacher receiving five hours of administration covering their classes. Nusser shared that his motive for winning was to receive administration coverage for his classes.

This year is the first year Rogers has done a food drive in the March Madness style. The way it was organized differs from past food drives the school has done. Instead of competing based off how many items a class has, this year’s food drive worked off a point system.  

Each donated item has a certain number of points. 

  • One point: Individual meals (ramen, cup noodles, canned fruits, etc.)
  • Two points: Boxed snacks/canned meats (sardines, Rice Krispies Treats, fruit snacks, etc.)
  • Three points: High priority needs (peanut butter, pasta, rice, soup, chili, etc.)
  • Four points: Meal kits/boxed meals (taco kits, pancake mix, etc.)

One of the main problems that arose during this year’s food drive was the large number of expired food items that were donated. Donated items that were already expired did not receive any points. 

To prevent this problem from happening in the following years of the food drive, AVID is planning to apply negative points for expired items. 

Koepfler said: “It’s just a hypothetical situation, all thumbs down, just to really encourage people to check out (the expiration dates) before the items get to us.”