KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — Students and staff of Mazama High School in Klamath County kicked off a food drive this week, challenging the community via social media to help "Load the Boat."
In partnership with its Sparrow Club, the school started the two-week campaign on Wednesday to benefit the Klamath Lake Counties Food Bank.
Mazama asks donors to drop off canned food items at the Viking’s wooden boat, which will be in the school’s front parking lot. At that point, they are asked to inspire others to donate as well.
"When someone donates food to the boat, we are asking them to make a quick video to virtually challenge five others to do the same,” said Laura Nickerson, a Mazama teacher who is heading up the school’s #LoadtheBoatMHS campaign.
Nickerson hopes that the campaign will go beyond the local district and into the community, using "the same playbook" as the ALS ice bucket challenge that went viral across the nation a few years ago.
In a kickoff video posted on Wednesday morning, Nickerson challenged KCSD Superintendent Glen Syzmoniak as well as other staff members throughout the district. Mazama Principal Michael Schaefer also plans to donate and post a challenge.
“This is an outstanding opportunity to create a sense of community while serving and challenging others to help during these challenging times,” Schaefer said. “I continue to be amazed at the creativity, strength, and personal and professional excellence that the entire Viking community shows.”
Szymoniak responded Wednesday afternoon, and said he will post a video that challenges the community to not just load the boat, but to sink it. “I want to encourage everyone who is able to participate and help out our local food bank,” he said.
Every year, Mazama students volunteer to help the food bank with Supermarket Saturday and other events. However, those events couldn’t happen this year because of Covid-19 restrictions, and the food bank is short on supplies heading into the holidays, Nickerson said.
The Sparrow Club also will host a drive-through donation day to encourage community members to join the effort. Donations will be accepted at the boat from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.