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Rival high schools come together to host food drive to benefit community members in need


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Rigby and Madison food drive announcement. | Courtesy Holly Mickelsen

RIGBY — The rivalry between students at Madison and Rigby high schools runs deep, but they’ve channeled their competitiveness into something bigger than themselves.

Rigby Student Body President Emily Mickelsen introduced the possibility of doing a food drive to Madison Student Body President Ryan Winfree during the summer. There was no outline as far as when or how they would do it, but when school was back in session, they revisited the idea.

During the halftime of Friday’s night football game between Rigby and Madison, the student councils exchanged a challenge for the first-ever competitive food drive between the two schools.

“We’re usually really separated, but we wanted to bring the schools together,” Winfree told “We wanted to use the food drive for unity and not more separation, so that’s the thing that we’re going for, but in the spirit of competition.”

Winfree said when the food drive planning got underway, the amount of COVID-19 cases in Idaho was a little over 50,000. Between both schools, the goal is to collect more cans than there were COVID-19 cases at the time.

“I know people are struggling in both communities because of COVID,” Madison Senior Class President Ellie Wolse said. “I think that doing something like this brings people together, and to have the service opportunity is also beneficial for the young people and the teenagers of both communities.”

Courtesy Holly Mickelsen

Although competition is still in the air, Mickelsen says the importance of the event is the fact that the schools can help provide food to people who may be wondering “Where am I getting my next meal?”

“This food drive does not stop at Jefferson County line but is providing food for two communities with families in need,” she explained. “That happiness in a can is for not one person but two communities with families in need.”

Mickelsen said the food drive has already brought together the two student councils and created new friendships between them, something Rigby Publicity Coordinator Nick Parr has also noticed.

“I have loved working with Madison’s student council so far, and I can’t wait to work with them in the future,” Parr said. “I love to be able to help people, and this is an excellent opportunity to do that.”

Along with cans, people can donate packaged and non-perishable items. Plus, every dollar donated will count as three cans.

Community members can drop items off at Madison High School or organizations it has partnered with such as the Family Crisis Center at 16 East Main Street in Rexburg and the Rexburg Food Bank at 275 Stationery Place.

In Rigby, items can also be dropped off at the high school. Other locations may be added.

The food drive begins Nov. 2 and wraps up at the end of December. The school that collects the most cans will be announced as the winner during the Madison vs. Rigby varsity boys basketball game at Madison High School on Jan. 13.