Which side will win – North or South? The yearly epic battle is underway. In its 10th year, Food Fight raises money, food, and awareness for Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM). Businesses and organizations north and south of Main Street duke it out to see which side can raise more money and food contributions. It’s serious business. But in the end it’s the community which is the winner when FROM is able to help provide healthy meals and services to those facing a hardship.
10 Years of Progression
This is the 10th year the North and South have been taking battling it out, each team looking for bragging rights for the year. FROM’s 20th anniversary is also this year, and as a way to celebrate, All Weather Seal, Betten Baker, Enwork, Lighthouse, King Milling, Alto Lions Club, River Valley Credit Union, and Magna have come together to offer a $20,000 match, which was announced in a press release just as Food Fight began this year.
Rick Seese, a new FROM board member at the time, created a Marketing Committee as a means to bring awareness of services offered. He came up with the concept and the Food Fight name. “In the early days, we saw homemade signs in store fronts. One business owner bought a skid of boxed food and displayed it in their store.” says Seese. He remained involved on the FROM board and with the until a couple of years ago when he had to step down due to term limits, but has continued to help the Food Fight committee.
During the first years of Food Fight, the effort was to raise food to fill the pantry at FROM. Since then, a monetary component has also been added to the event. Various sponsorship levels are available for businesses and individuals. And most recently, the idea of a matching component has been added. Jodie Seese, wife of Rick is currently serving on the board and introduced the concept to the Food Fight event.
North vs. South
The competition between the two sides is as fierce as talking to University of Michigan and Michigan State fans over which is the better school. “Food Fight was born because of the competitive nature of our community with the success of our football team.” comments Seese. This year he has already heard of a story where someone was looking for a barrel to leave a food donation for the South team at a church. Most church locations in the community offer a barrel for each side so congregations can decide which team to support. She was told to “just put it in the North barrel for now”, as the location of the church would make it part of the North team. That wasn’t an option for this person. She said she’d look around town for a South barrel so she could support the team she wanted to win.
Food Fight is FROM’s biggest fundraiser each year. Last year’s goal was to raise $85,000 in food and financial donations. That goal was surpassed with a total of $105,763 raised and approximately 15,000 food items were collected. North was declared last year’s winner. “Funds from Food Fight support programs like the food pantry, kids summer lunches, money management classes, employment services, connections office, and more that are here to help our neighbors in need.” says Amanda Haberlein, Marketing and Communications Director for FROM. Services are offered free of charge. She continues saying, “Food Fight would not be a success without all of Matching Sponsors, businesses, churches and individuals who participate and we are so thankful we are a part of such a giving community.”
While competition between North and South can be fiercely competitive, in the end everyone in the community wins. Those in need are able to receive healthy food and services offered at FROM. Donation barrels are available at Greenridge Realty, Inc, Sneakers, Key Heights, A-1 Laser, Die and Engineering, City Hall, Impact Church, Senior Neighbors of Lowell, The Moose Lodge, Lowell Church of the Nazerene, BC Pizza, All Weather Seal, Lowell Arts, and Flat River Outreach Ministries. A Show You Care, Buy a Square campaign is also going on at businesses including Springrove Variety, Sweet Seasons, and Treasures Thrift Store. Buy a red square to support North or a white square to help out South. Squares are $1 each. Businesses and individuals can also make an online donation in support of your favorite team.
The six-week event is halfway through competition, with a current score of North with 21,485 and South with 23,870. North won last year and has won five of the competitions over the past 10 years. Will South win this year and tie up the overall standings? Or will North win and take a 6-4 lead against the competition?
We here at Lowell’s First Look live and work north of Main Street making us North supporters. Which side are you cheering on? You can help your team win by giving food or making a monetary donation.