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Farmington High School students make sandwiches for the Farmington Food Shelf at the beginning of Friday's Games for Change. Students made more than 500 sandwiches and collected approximately 3,000 food items.

Farmington High School Games for Change raised $5,700 for the food shelf

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When Farmington High School students set out to do something good for others, they're usually very successful. Last weekend's fourth annual Games for Change was no exception.

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Sponsored by Youth Development, Games for Change is an overnight lock-in in which the participants -- 36 teams worth -- play volleyball, dodgeball and floor hockey. They also raise a lot of money to help others.

Most of what Games for Change collects goes to the Farmington Food Shelf, which is run by 360 Communities. Each participant paid an entry fee which, in turn, is donated to the food shelf. This year, Youth Development advisor Marianne Feely said, the event raised $5,740.25.

That alone is pretty awesome, food shelf publicist Kris Akin said, because the Farmington Food Shelf works with Second Harvest, a provider that is part of the national Feed America program. Through Second Harvest, the local food shelf is able to buy surplus canned and boxed food items at about one-third of actual cost.

"The kids were pretty wide-eyed when they heard that," Feely said. "They can really do the math and see the huge impact this has on the local food shelf."

In addition to the money raised, the teens made no fewer than 500 sandwiches and collected approximately 3,000 nonperishable food items during Games for Change. The sandwiches and food will also be donated to the food shelf.

"The senior (food shelf volunteers) are just in awe of those kids and what they're able to do collectively as a group," Akin said.

Soles for Souls

This year, Youth Development teens also wanted to do something for people outside of the community, so they came up with the idea for a shoe drive called Soles for Souls.

The teens had hoped to collect 500 pair of shoes for people in third world countries.

The group far exceeded their goal. Students collected 873 pairs of shoes, and another 30 single shoes in a three-week drive.

"The kids were so happy about that," Feely said. "It was a great night."

The addition of the shoe drive also provided an activity break between games, Feely said. At one point, every student who was participating in Games for Change helped to pair up, box up and count shoes.

Overall, Feely is pleased with the event and gives credit to the students for the work they have done.

"I'm really proud of the kids at Farmington High School and how they gave back to the community in such a wonderful way. It may be going back into somebody in their own class," she said. "You never know who's having a struggle or a hard time. What a wonderful testament this is to our kids at Farmington High School."

There were 34 student teams registered for Games for Change. The remaining teams consisted of School District 192 administrators and members of the Farmington Rotary Club.

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Michelle Leonard
Michelle Leonard started covering the Farmington community in June, 1994. Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the Farmington American Legion Auxiliary Unit 189, and acts as the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 
(651) 460-6606
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