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District 91 students donated over 170,000 food items to families in need

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Skyline High School students organizing food during the 15th annual ‘Souper Bowl.’ | Courtesy Ashley Fransen

IDAHO FALLS — Students in Idaho Falls School District 91 thought this year’s annual Souper Bowl food drive wouldn’t bring in nearly as much as past years due to COVID-19 complications.

The student bodies were shocked when they learned they blew last year’s record out of the water.

As of Tuesday night, District 91 had reported more than 170,000 food items collected in the drive. Last February, the total number was 116,170.

For the drive, students stood outside of grocery stores, collected donations from houses, and contacted local businesses to find support.

Courtesy Ashley Fransen

Skyline High School had set a goal of 55,000 cans but ended up picking up and donating more than 117,000. Idaho Falls High School exceeded its expectations as well, donating 53,000. All of the food and monetary donations that were collected are in the process of being sent to the Idaho Falls Community Food Basket to help those in need in the local area.

RELATED: Local high school students on a mission to collect 55,000 cans for needy families during 15th annual ‘Souper Bowl’

Skyline Student Body President Ashley Fransen told EastIdahoNews.com students believed they had to work extra hard just to hit their original goal of 55,000.

“We ended up having to brainstorm and finding anyone in the community. A lot of kids would ask more friends and family members,” she said. “We really tried, and we couldn’t have done it without the community.”

Fransen added that even though more people this year needed help due to the pandemic, individuals and businesses alike recognized the need more than ever, and that helped surge the drive’s success.

“2020 was just so crazy,” she said. “But it was really cool to start off 2021 with such a uniting feat.”

Courtesy Ashley Fransen

Idaho Falls High School President Crew Peterson added that this year was different for the students. They got to see first hand how important service is..

“It’s a more important Souper Bowl,” Petersen said. “It’s a year where we know the community really really needs it. People need our help right now.”

Petersen explained how rewarding it was to see a community come together in this time of crisis. Even though IFHS lost the friendly competition between the schools during the drive, he congratulated Skyline on its victory.

“It’s just incredible to see neighbors try to help neighbors,” he said.

The donation to the Community Food Basket is one of the largest they have seen in years, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time. Two out of the three major food drives the Food Basket depends on were not able to happen in 2020.

The Souper Bowl will always be special to Executive Director Ariel Jackson.

“This is one of my favorite food drives,” she told EastIdahoNews.com. “My hopes are that these young kids carry that into their own lives and at some point become our volunteers.”

It has taken multiple trucks and assembly lines to transport the food, and that process isn’t over yet. Once the food is transported, students will return in March to have a “sorting party,” where they get to see how the donations will be used and distributed.

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