Annual Pasta Bowl Fights Hunger with School Spirit
Writer and Photographer / Keeley Miller
Every year, thousands of pounds of pasta are given to food pantries, thanks to the efforts of a single food drive. Donating almost 10,000 pounds in 2014 alone, the annual Pasta Bowl gives back to the community. Hamilton Southeastern School Board President John DeLucia founded the Pasta Bowl in 2012, hoping to create an alternative twist to a food drive that utilizes school spirit to help the less fortunate.
“I think we are so fortunate in the United States and especially Fishers,” said DeLucia. “We have great schools, great families, and so just to engage all of them and giving to someone else is powerful.”
The Pasta Bowl is a friendly competition between local high schools. During the football season, students bring pasta for donation, and the school with the most pasta wins. Pasta donated goes toward food pantries as well as Second Helpings, a nonprofit community kitchen based in Indianapolis. Collection bins were placed at the annual Mudsock football game between Hamilton Southeastern and Fishers High Schools. Last year, Fishers High School took home the trophy after donating 1,600 pounds of pasta.
“We wanted to capture the energy and excitement of the high school students and thought of the Spirit Award. The Spirit Award is nice, but feeding people is even nicer,” said DeLucia. “We got a trophy in hopes that the Pasta Bowl would be fun and competitive but also give back.”
Last year, a goal was set to reach 10,000 pounds of pasta, an amount much larger than previous years. The Hamilton Southeastern Schools Foundation got on board, and it started to gain some traction. The YMCA, Proshred, fire stations, Citizen State Bank, Meijer and high school athletes all volunteered to help out the food drive. Although the 10,000-pound goal was not met, they came close with over 8,000 pounds.
“The challenge is going beyond Fishers,” said DeLucia. “If this is going to be the biggest pasta bowl collection in the universe, we need the universe to step up a little bit. It would be great to spur some interest with other high schools too, so it could grow beyond.”
DeLucia hopes to expand the Pasta Bowl awards to local elementary, middle and junior high schools. Whichever school from each level brings in the most pasta would win their own trophy.
“We might have to get more trophies, and that would be okay,” laughed DeLucia.
You can follow the Pasta Bowl on Twitter @pastabowl2015.