Every year, hundreds of thousands of people watch the rivalry game between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, each fan rooting for a single victor. For more than fifteen years, civic-minded students at Saline Middle School have made that same game a chance to create a few more winners, on behalf of those less fortunate in their local community.
According to teacher/organizer of the event the rules of the SMS “game” are simple. Students from each classroom bring in food items for donation. Each item “scores” a point to one of the football teams, either Michigan or MSU. Final points are calculated during the Middle School equivalent of “fourth quarter,” giving a total for each team based on number of items given.
“For some ‘strange’ reason,” Ms Reik observed, “UofM seems to win by a large margin, every year. This year they won by 3,000 items to 1,000 items.”
But this is where the real winners enter the Saline Middle School game, once the final “touchdowns” are noted. Saline Area Social Services takes in the fruits of these students’ benevolence and distributes them to area families and individuals. It’s particularly important this time of year because food supplies from summer drives are dwindling and continue to dwindle as fall progresses.
According to Mr Foster, the SMS 2017 final tally of over 4,000 is one of the largest that the drive has ever generated.
But the story doesn’t end there. One of the biggest and most creative donations this year came from Luke and Caleb Helmer who donated 1,008 packages of Ramen Noodles. “We just wanted to help the community stay strong, and we wanted to make sure everyone's needs are met,” these generous young men explained.
When all the food was delivered, the staff at Saline Area Social Service was asked to report back to the classrooms with the name of the most popular item received by those who benefited.
What would you have guessed?
The answer, from Program Manager Glenna Rehder was: “Ramen Noodles.”