At times they're rivals. But Friday, a pair of neighboring schools put aside their rivalry to help fight hunger and support the tornado victims in Perryville through an annual event called March for Hunger.
A small army made up of student council members from Windsor and Seckman high schools in Jefferson County marched down Seckman road Friday morning. Their mission: to help those in need, both locally and in tornado-ravaged Perryville.
“March for Hunger is where we get our community involved,” said Seckman High School Student Council president Caleb Weaver. “This year we're bringing in Windsor. And we'll march from Mastodon State Park to Seckman High School.”
Along the three-mile march were boxes and bags of canned goods and personal items donated by people living along the route.
“Since our communities meet at Seckman Road we thought a local food drive would be great. And then of course, our friends at Perryville were hit by a tornado, so we felt like we could turn this into a bigger project,” said Connor Portlock, the Windsor High School Student Council Vice President.
Half the food collected will go to the St. Joseph's Food Bank in Imperial. The other half, along with all personal items, were loaded onto busses and shipped to Perry County.
“The slogan this year is community unity and that's really what we're reaching for,” said Ashlee Taylor, the Seckman High School March for Hunger committee chair.
Army Staff Sergeant Zachary Chand of the Festus Recruiting Center launched the project three years ago. This year, he says, was the most successful yet thanks in large part to the student leadership.
“A leader is not who they are without their soldiers and I absolutely look at these students as my kids. So, I’m extremely proud of them,” said Chand.
This is the first year the schools combined for March for Hunger. But Friday’s efforts were limited to just Windsor and Seckman. Hillsboro, Festus, De Soto and just about every other school district in Jefferson County donated goods to Perryville. Three busses full of items were delivered to the storm-damaged area late Friday evening.