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Third annual Games for Change event at FHS raised more than $4,300 for local food shelf

Two days later, Marianne Feely couldn't stop gushing about the success of the third annual Games for Change event held Friday and Saturday at Farmington High School.

And really, she shouldn't stop, because the students who organized and participated in this year's Games for Change event raised thousands of dollars and collected hundreds of food items for the Farmington Food Shelf.

Games for Change is an overnight lock-in event sponsored by the District 192 Community Education Youth Development committee. Youth Development is made up of kids in grades 9-12. The event rounds up teams of students to challenge each other in games like volleyball, dodgeball and floor hockey. Students are asked to contribute $20 each to participate in the games. They were also asked to bring food shelf donations.

It's been fun the past couple of years, Feely said. Usually, about a dozen teams of kids would participate. They brought food donations and they played games. If they weren't up all night, they were up for most of it. And it was a pretty safe bet Youth Development would have a good amount to donate to Farmington charities in the end.

And then, there was this year's event.

A total of 26 teams signed up for the 2012 Games for Change, plus a team of teachers and a team from the Farmington Rotary Club. That accounted for a total of 208 students on teams, which meant Youth Development collected more than $4,300. The group also collected 2,065 pounds of food.

The evening started off with kids making 500 sandwiches to donate to the food shelf -- those will be frozen and distributed to families with school-aged kids so the kids can have a quick lunch or after-school treat -- and it just went on from there.

The amount of food donated was also way up this year.

"We couldn't even count the amount of we had. We have four full flatbeds of food. It probably quadrupled the amount of food we have had in the past years," Feely said.

The night's first event, a volleyball tournament, went on until somewhere around 3:30 a.m., when, the championship match came down to a rock-paper-scissors match between a District 192 staff team and the Rotary team.

"It was just such a positive and exciting night that it was truly great to see," Feely said.

Feely credits this year's success to the hard work of the kids on Youth Development. They organized the event and helped to run the games. But Feely thinks they did a lot of promotion to get other students interested, and it paid off big time.

Prior to the event, an assembly was held at FHS. The Youth Development kids showed videos of past years and encouraged their classmates to come check out this year's event. Word of mouth has likely played a roll, too, as kids who have participated in the past talked it up to their friends.

"I'm so proud of the kids who organized it, but also of the kids who came and donated," Feely said. "Everything goes to the Farmington Food Shelf. Everyone in Farmington can be so proud of these kids.

"When you can collect that much money and that much food in that little time... it was just incredible."

Farmington Food Shelf volunteer Kris Akin couldn't agree more. While there are two food drives coming up in the next couple of months, the shelves have been getting low since the big push for donations that usually come around the holidays.

"The food shelf need isn't showing any signs of decreasing. We serve new families and new individuals every week," Akin said. "The Farmington Food Shelf is really lucky that Farmington residents, organizations and the schools support us as much as they do. 360 Communities and the Partners for Success program and the food shelf are all important resources for the underprivileged families in our area."

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  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 American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also 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. 

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