Students fight hunger

There’s no shortage of local students helping out the food bank.

Students In Free Enterprise representative Jonathan Gardner presents an award to Joanna Banaszek and Raylene Moroz (right) on behalf of all of those from Kalamalka Secondary School who took part in the Let’s Can Hunger campaign.  Kalamalka took the first place prize for raising the most donations for the Salvation Army food bank.

Students In Free Enterprise representative Jonathan Gardner presents an award to Joanna Banaszek and Raylene Moroz (right) on behalf of all of those from Kalamalka Secondary School who took part in the Let’s Can Hunger campaign. Kalamalka took the first place prize for raising the most donations for the Salvation Army food bank.

There’s no shortage of local students helping out the food bank.

Okanagan College’s Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) organization is the 2010 national Campbell’s Let’s Can Hunger Challenge champion, raising more than 30,000 pounds of food through various community efforts to aid local food bank need.

In December, SIFE Okanagan team initiated a high school competition among the four Vernon area schools, motivating each school to raise food items and funds for the food bank.

Students from Vernon Secondary, Fulton, Seaton and the winning high school, Kalamalka, raised more than 20,000 pounds of food and funds ($1 = 1 pound of food, and one can of food = 1 pound).

“That’s huge,” said Jonathan Gardner, director of sponsorship for SIFE who helped organize the high school competition along with Brittney Weatherill. “In our competition, we raised 30,000 pounds, and the Vernon high school kids raised more than 20,000. It shows the community is behind us and that there is a need to pitch in to really make a difference.”

Kal students alone raised more than half of the Vernon total, compiling 10,803 pounds in food and dollars for the food bank.

“It feels good, it’s awesome,” said Justine Correia, a Grade 12 Kal student and part of the school’s SPAM group (Social Political Awareness Movement). “It’s awesome we can help people. Everybody here at the school pitched in.”

Joanna Banaszek, of SPAM, added that the food drive is annual event at the Coldstream school (in the past years, SPAM has raised more than $100,000 in donations), and that the group is involved in many other activities.

“We are involved with the soup kitchen and 30-hour famine, and another big project for this year is to make our school water bottle free,” said Banaszek, a Grade 12 student. “Not only do we do work locally, we help out the global community.

“This year we have started raising money to build a school in Kenya with the Free The Children organization.”

SIFE is a global non-profit student-run organization, and SIFE in Canada is operated by ACE (Advancing Canadian Entrepreneurs). The SIFE program encourages students to address relevant economic, social and environmental issues by empowering others to improve their quality of life and standard of living.

Teams do this by implementing socially responsible outreach projects that have a big impact on a specific need and target audience in their community.