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Concord students to hold canned food drive at football game

While Concord High School’s football players are looking for success on the field tonight, the fans have a chance to make a difference off it through a student-led effort to collect canned goods.

“We’re hoping that the community responds, and usually they do,” said Chris Boezeman, adviser for the Varsity Club, which is leading the effort.

The drive is part of a statewide effort to “tackle hunger,” sponsored by the New Hampshire Food Bank, the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association and Channel 9 News. At Concord High, promoting the drive has been a joint effort between the Varsity Club, the football team, cheerleaders, band members and the Quarterback Club, which is the football team’s booster club. Everyone attending the football game is encouraged to bring a canned, nonperishable food item, which will be collected by students at the admissions gate.

After the drive, the students themselves will deliver the food tomorrow to the Friendly Kitchen. Food will also go to Friends of Forgotten Children and CenterPoint Church. For students, the effort is an important way to give back to the community.

“It’s good, because the food kitchens are low right now,” said senior Leah Hapke. “Our (cans) are going locally right to the Friendly Kitchen, so it’s going right to Concord.”

The success of the football team – they’re undefeated this year – means many more people are coming to games than in the past few years. And students can now enter games free of charge. To football player Will Scharlotte, Varsity Club treasurer, both of these things put Concord in a strong position to collect a large number of cans.

“I think that it’s great because we have so many fans now that are coming back out because they hear that we’re doing well,” he said. “Just that alone, if we doubled our fan base . . . that’s double the cans that we could have, too. Overall, the success of the football team is going to help this.”

Several students involved said they think hand delivering the food will be a good opportunity to open students’ eyes to issues such as hunger and homelessness that exist in their own city. Most students learn about nonprofits and community service during a junior-year civics class, but students said a lot of the awareness about homelessness and hunger in Concord comes from student-run clubs and efforts such as this one.

“I feel like it’s just better if people know what’s going on; it makes people so much more respectful,” said sophomore Zoe Honigberg.

Even for the students and parents who won’t be delivering the food, just bringing a can to the game is a simple way to help the community and support the team.

“I think it’s going to be really cool at the football game because it’s not just being a spectator,” said Ryan Donnelly, a senior and Varsity Club president. “You’re going to help other people.”

(Kathleen Ronayne can be reached at 369-3309 or kronayne@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @kronayne.)

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