Shaking things up in last days of food drive

Members of the South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task Force and the South St. Paul High School drama club donned costumes and cut a rug in a YouTube video to raise awareness for the task force’s March food drive. (submitted photo)

Food drives never cease to be important, but at times the constant needs can cause potential donors to grow numb to requests for help.

This March, however, the South St. Paul Mayor’s Youth Task Force is demanding attention for its annual food drive with a costumed version of the popular Harlem Shake dance video. Dressed as a giant tub of popcorn, a soup can, the Packers bull, McGruff the Crime Dog, the duck from Neighbors, Inc. and more, members of the task force and members of the South St. Paul High School drama club shook, twisted, boogied and bounded for a one-minute video posted to YouTube March 18.

While it may look strange, the group has high hopes for the video. The Harlem Shake rendition is intended to bring attention to the task force’s “What Will You Bring to the Table” food drive and also the group’s contest to find the most creative way to collect non-perishable food items. The task force has set a goal of collecting 15,000 pounds by the end of the month.

Get creative

If you have a creative way to collect food in the last days of March, you can still enter the contest.

Minnesota FoodShare offers great tips for creative food drives on its website, including hosting an “empty bowl” event, during which artists and students donate handmade ceramic bowls and the public pays a fee for the bowl and a soup dinner.

Other suggestions include finding a “celebrity waiter” to serve a lunch at school or a restaurant. Participants pay a fee to be served and tips are donated to the food shelf.

The Akron Canton Regional Foodbank in Ohio also offers creative suggestions; in their “A Picture Says a Thousand Words,” idea, employees or students can have their picture taken sitting at the CEO or principals’ desk for a cash or food donation.

Think you can collect some food in a creative way? To be eligible for the “Most Creative” award, send a brief description of how you collected food, including how much was collected, to Deb Griffith at deb.griffith@southstpaul or 651-554-3230. The Mayor’s Youth Task will review the submissions and a trophy will be presented by Mayor Baumann at an upcoming City Council Meeting.

To watch the task force’s video, search “SSP Mayor’s Youth Task Force Harlem Shake” at

Heather Edwards can be reached at

Food drop off locations include:

• South St. Paul City Hall (125 Third Ave. N)
• Central Square Community Center (100 Seventh Ave. N)
• SSP Public Library  (106 Third Ave. N)
• SSP Public Schools (All locations)
• Sherman  Insurance (120 Bridgepoint Way)
• Edward Jones (100 Bridgepoint Drive #130)
• Quality Auto Care Center (100 Concord Exchange)
• Wakota Federal Credit Union (1151 Southview Blvd.)
• Waterous Company (125 Hardman Avenue)
• Giant Egg Hunt (Kaposia Park, March 30 10 a.m.)
• River Heights Chamber of Commerce (5782 Blackshire Path, Inver Grove Heights)
• Town Square TV (5845 Blaine Ave., Inver Grove Heights

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