A friendly competition between two rival towns will result in a winning situation for both communities.
Miss Danish Festival 2011 Audrey Frank challenged Miss Belding 2011 Arianna Leppink to a Greenville vs. Belding food drive competition this week at the two high schools to see which community can round up the most nonperishable food items to contribute to local food pantries.
“Audrey and I have gotten to know each other over the past few months because we do a lot of the same parades and events,” Leppink said, “but along with being friends is the rivalry between the two cities.”
Frank has previously organized food drives at Greenville elementary schools, St. Charles and Club Epic for middle school students.
“I’ve done the food challenges at two of the four elementary schools and hope to get to the other two before the end of the school year,” said Frank, a Greenville High School graduate. “I also wanted to promote the Greenville community at the high school and tried to think of a fun way to do it.”
In Greenville, donations are being accepted at the high school office. Students turn in their items to their first hour classroom, where DECA students tally how many are turned in.
The Belding High School Student Council, where Leppink is a member, has offered to help manage the items turned in to Belding High School.
“I don’t have a specific goal we are aiming for, only to get as much as we can,” Frank said.
Items collected in Greenville will be donated to the Greenville Ecumenical Food Mission at St. Paul Lutheran Church and Greenville Community Church food pantry, while the donations collected in Belding will go to Shiloh Community Church’s food pantry.
“I’ve put a few posters up, I’ve been telling all my friends and I put it on Facebook,” Leppink said. “It’s a fun way to help out Audrey with her platform.”
Frank opted to emphasize helping local pantries as a platform requirement for the Miss Danish Festival pageant and a requirement for competing in the Miss Michigan Scholarship.
“I am very blessed that when I go to my refrigerator there is food to eat,” Frank said. “There are so many others who can’t get a snack when they are hungry because their cupboards are bare.”
As the pantries benefit, one high school also earns the title of collecting the most canned goods.
“It is not just a seasonal thing, where people do food drives at Christmas time,” said Leppink. “There are needs all year long.”