LEMONT – Lemont High School sophomore Olivia Matthews knows her school has a giving spirit.
“I feel like once we have a cause, we all have so much passion,” she said. “If we direct that passion into something good, we can do incredible things.”
Matthews and fellow sophomore Jenna Molaro are organizing Food Fight, a student-run charitable event to pack meals for starving children around the world.
Lemont High School will be the seventh school to participate in Food Fight, joining three Naperville high schools, two Aurora high schools and Downers Grove North High School.
The event is run in conjunction with an organization Impact Lives.
The students raise money, which Impact Lives uses to purchase food. Then, Impact Lives brings the food to the school, and the students spend a day packing it.
Matthews said she and Molaro learned about Food Fight while attending an event at Community Christian Church in Lemont.
“They were talking about doing something for society and not being just a stereotypical high schooler, but actually going out and helping the world,” she said.
There was a student talking about Food Fight, and Matthews said she and Molaro are interested in ending world hunger.
Though the packing event is a year away, the girls have already gotten to work on organizing the event.
“The majority of the work has been getting it approved by our administration because, with block schedules, it’s really hard to fit it within our schedule,” Matthews said.
She said the school administration was completely on board when they proposed the event.
“They thought it was so cool that high schoolers were asking to help,” she said. “Usually I feel like it’s the teachers that are asking the students to get involved, and this was the high schoolers coming to the teachers asking them to get involved.”
Lemont High School assistant principal Dave Clark said he is impressed with the initiative Matthews and Molaro have taken.
“I don’t doubt that they will be able to pull it off, but it will be impressive when they do,” he said.
Clark said Lemont High School has the right kind of students to make the event succeed.
“Our kids step up like none I’ve every seen,” he said. “I’ve talked with other schools, and they don’t have this full student body participation.”
Matthews, Molaro and their friends – mostly other sophomore girls – have already started on the fundraising, with a goal of $5,000.
“I’m a very competitive person and I want to pack more meals than all the other schools,” Matthews said.
She said they have already raised $2,700 from nine businesses and organizations sponsoring the event: Community Christian Church Lemont, The Patti Group, Front Street Cantina, 1st Advantage Mortgage/Country Financial, Brad Grcevic of Edward Jones, RTS Inc., Mosquito Squad, Aurora Rose a Unique Boutique and LHS Junior Achievement.
They also made $400 from a bake sale.
The next fundraising event is Sunday at Front Street Cantina, when 10 percent of all the proceeds will go to Food Fight.
Matthews said they are still thinking of fundraisers to do this summer, such as other dinner-related events and car washes. She said the next school year is when they will really start to get the word out to the students about Food Fight. The students who have heard about it have been supportive, she said.
“It’s kind of cool because [the Food Fight organizers] think this is going to become a huge thing – like the next Feed Our Starving Children,” she said. “So, it would be awesome to get Lemont on the bandwagon and be trailblazers for it.”
If you go
What: Lemont High School Food Fight Fundraiser
When: 4 p.m. Sunday, May 18
Where: Front Street Cantina, 319 Front St., Lemont
More information: Includes a taco eating contest, bean bag tournament, live music and more