All hands are on deck as students from John Tyler and Robert E. Lee High Schools go head to head in the 27th annual Pantry Raid food drive.
Over the past 26 years, students have collected over 1.2 million pounds of food, which has provided more than 1 million meals for East Texas families. Last year, the schools raised a collective 28,182 pounds of food.
John Tyler is looking to take the prize for the sixth year in a row. Since 1991 John Tyler has won 13 times, Lee has won 11 and two years ended in a tie.
Tyler Whataburger restaurants teamed with the high schools on Wednesday to help make this year’s competition the biggest ever. Customers bringing in three cans of food got a free burger during the event.
The result was dozens of boxes of food collected for the East Texas Food Bank and a whole lot of free hamburgers.
Robert E. Lee Junior Nathan Kuehn treated his mother to dinner during the event.
“I think this will help a lot,” he said. “Plus, free food.”
The Lee Cheerleaders hoped the fundraiser would be the edge they need to bring the trophy back for the first time since 2011.
“I think it’s helping a lot,” Senior Tori Limas said.
Limas said while the goal was to beat John Tyler, it is the end result of helping East Texas families that is most important.
John Tyler Student Council President Bri Criss said the school has been so successful because of community partnerships they’ve built.
“Our community helps feed into what we’re doing,” Criss said. “It’s bigger than just winning, it goes toward a great cause, to win the fight against hunger.”
The competition adds an extra layer of good natured rivalry to the annual Rose City Rivalry football game at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium on Friday. This year’s winner will be announced at halftime.