Fishing passes are all the rage at Mark Twain Elementary School.
One of many schools in the Carson City area participating in the Friends in Service Helping (FISH) Trick-or-Treat canned food drive, students at Mark Twain are bringing in many more cans than in the past.
First-grade teacher Sharon Lane came up with the FISH pass idea with her co-teacher and teacher's aide.
"FISH would like to have 100 cans from each classroom," she said. "So we divided that up by the students. If every student brings in three cans, they get a FISH pass."
The more cans students brings in, the more passes they receive.
Each pass gives them a chance at being the one student per classroom chosen in a drawing to get on a bus, take a ride to Borders Books, and pick out an $8 book.
"I'll tell you the manila envelopes are getting full," said Lane, who has taught at the school since it opened 11 years ago. "We've got a lot of cans this year. The kids really bought into this one."
The Trick-or-Treat can drive continues through Thursday. At that time, FISH trucks will go to participating schools, which includes every public one in the district, as well as Capital Christian, Bethlehem Lutheran, St. Teresa and Carson City Montessori, to collect the donations.
"Each child has received a plastic bag which has the logo Trick-or-Treat for FISH and that's their identifier," said Monte Fast, director of FISH. "They will be asked to take it from the classroom in whatever means they want, put food in it and bring it back to the classroom."
FISH needs between 10-15 volunteers to come to the Long Street agency about 11 a.m. Thursday to help sort food.
About 75 percent of donations were sorted before shelving last year due to a large turnout.
The FISH drive started in 1984 at the Presbyterian Church. Over the years, more and more churches participated until 1988, when it was moved to the schools. More participants meant more cans and more food for the needy.
The Trick-or-Treat drive brought in 50,000 cans last year, and in its largest year ever garnered 70,000 cans.
The food will be used in approximately 350 food baskets to be distributed at Thanksgiving to the needy and some 500 baskets given out at Christmas.
The remainder of the donated food lasts to the spring when postal workers do a food drive, which brings in about 30,000-35,000 cans.
"The miracle is," said Fast, "that this canned-food drive carries us through the cold winter months."
Top efforts will be recognized at a ceremony Nov. 10 at the Carson Nugget. Elementary, middle and high school classes or service clubs can win cash prizes from Sertoma, Rotary and Wal-Mart. One teacher will also receive a $2,000 round-trip airfare ticket. New this year is a raffle for one principal to win a $250 American Express card.
Their names will be entered in the raffle once for every 100 cans raised per classroom.
n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.
You can help
What: Trick-or-Treat FISH Drive
When: Through Thursday
Where: Send cans to school with your children or, if you don't have a student, send cans with a neighborhood child. Prizes will be awarded for best can-raising efforts
Benefits: Friends in Service Helping, which provides meals to hungry families throughout the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and beyond
Information: Call Monte Fast, director of FISH, at 882-3474