Some Lancaster County school districts are teaming up at high school football games to fight hunger.
Tonight, White Out Against Hunger events will be held when Conestoga Valley faces off against Manheim Township and Garden Spot plays Lancaster Catholic.
All four schools are encouraging their fans to bring food-pantry donations to the games. Those who do will receive special white T-shirts.
The goal is to fill the stadiums with white shirts, according to Joan Yunginger, director of the Elanco Social Services Network in New Holland.
Yunginger got the idea for the White Out after talking to Tina Edgell, director of development at Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services.
“She was just so excited about their event last year,” Yunginger says of Edgell, “and I was sure we could do the same thing in our area.”
2,038 pounds collected
Edgell and CV parent Jamie Lapp organized their first White Out last year at the Conestoga Valley/Manheim Township football game and were pleased to collect 2,038 pounds of food for Christian Community Services.
“We were both in tears when the Manheim Township cheerleaders got off the bus, and they all had food for us,” Edgell says. “We knew the CV kids would all bring food, but to see the other school district come forward was just such an awesome feeling.”
The overall response was so great that they ran out of T-shirts last year. So this time, they doubled the number of shirts they have to give away. The cost of the T-shirts at both of tonight’s events is underwritten by local businesses.
Food donations from the Lancaster Catholic/Garden Spot game will go to the New Holland Area Food Pantry. Garden Spot’s student council will help collect the items and hand out T-shirts.
Items collected at the Conestoga Valley/Manheim Township game will go to Christian Community Services. Conestoga Valley girls’ soccer team will help with the collection for the second year.
Both food pantries need similar items: canned fruits, vegetables, soups, meats and pasta; pancake mix and syrup; peanut butter and jelly; laundry detergent, shampoo and deodorant.
Gates open at 5:45 p.m. for both games. Fans are encouraged to bring donations early because T-shirts and sizes are limited.
“It would be great to make this a county event,” Edgell says. “Every school in Lancaster County could have (a White Out event) the same night, with an entire county fighting hunger.”