Last year, Ballard High School’s student council collected 2,150 items during its food drive on the United Way of Story County’s annual Day of Caring.


This year, senior Allison Zielke, who is chairing the committee, has a goal of topping last year’s total.


Zielke reached out to the local newspaper, wanting to help spread the word, which the committee has also been doing through social media, flyers and announcements.


“On Friday, Sept. 13, we will go out in the community and pick up nonperishable food items and toiletries off of people’s front porches and from businesses that have had collection boxes put out this summer for us,” Zielke said.


When she says, “we,” Zielke is talking about the 66 student council members who will all be out in force on Sept. 13, mostly that morning, collecting in the four main Ballard communities — Huxley, Slater, Cambridge and Kelley.


“We want people to leave items on their front porch that day, so they are visible to us,” Zielke said.


Once they collect it, student council members will bring the collections back to the high school, where items will be sorted and divided into groupings for three food pantries within the school district that are in Huxley, Cambridge and Slater.


Ballard students have been taking part in the annual Day of Caring’s Live United Food Drive since 2013. “The whole entire Story County is involved in this. It’s really cool that we get to come together and get food for our communities,” Zielke said.


The items they usually get the most of, said Zielke, who has been in student council every year of high school and is experienced when it comes to the food drive, is canned goods. “Which is great,” she said. “One thing we don’t get as much of is toiletry items. We could use more of those.”


The Live United Food Drive is just one of a number of activities that keep the Ballard Student Council busy throughout the year. Other things that are going on right now, Zielke said, are homecoming plans. “We plan the carnival, the dance and also do a dance marathon in partnership with UNI’s marathon that benefits kids with cancer.”


Zielke is the current vice president of student council. Jenna Hernandez, also a senior, is president of the organization this year.


“I really like the leadership (opportunities) and being a voice for the student body,” Zielke said.


A few other things Zielke mentions that Ballard Student Council does are the new student committee, which welcomes any new students coming into the Ballard School District during the year, and the reading program at East and West elementary schools. “Student council members go out to the elementary schools and read to classrooms.”


For now, until Sept. 13, she’s focused on making the food drive a success, and she hopes that all residents in Ballard’s communities will leave something on their steps the morning of Sept. 13.


If you don’t want to leave food out that day, you can drop items off ahead of Sept. 13 at the following places: Fareway in Huxley, Vision Bank in Huxley, South Story Bank locations in both Huxley and Slater, Ballard Veterinarian in Huxley, the 3C’s building in Huxley by the front desk, Town and Country Grocery in Slater and at the Slater Library.