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Fill the Dome is in it's fifth year. File photo

Fill the Dome kicks off fifth year

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education Fargo, 58102
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

For the next few months, students in the West Fargo School District and the greater Fargo-Moorhead area have a big goal: to gather a bunch of food.

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Not because they're storing it for the long winter months ahead, but because on Nov. 21-22, Fill the Dome will culminate at the Fargodome. Entering its fifth season, the annual youth-led food drive will once again reach out to the community for donations - both of food and money - to give to the Great Plains Food Bank.

With a half decade under their belt, student leaders decided to look at the drive a bit differently this year.

"Our biggest focus is on who we are affecting," West Fargo High School representative Faye Stromberg said. "We've talked a lot in the past about how to fill the dome, but now we're focusing more on why we fill the dome."

This change in philosophy means a couple of things. First, Fill The Dome isn't looking so much at the gross tonnage of food gathered, but more how that food is representative of the people it helps.

"We're stressing the meals," Stromberg said. Every dollar raised is equivalent of four meals, she said.

Therefore, Fill the Dome has set a goal of getting enough food to provide a half million meals to those in need. That means organizers or looking for a goal similar to what was set last year: $100,000 raised and 100 tons of food.

That goal fell short in 2010, as Fill the Dome gathered 97 tons of food and $75,000 for the Great Plains Food Bank. Since its inception, the city's largest food drive has acquired more than 300 tons of food and more than $225,000. The drive is organized by the Metro Area Student Ambassadors, which consists of student representatives from each area high school.

Student organizers have once again secured Gate City Bank and Hornbacher's as major financial sponsors. Other sponsors include Scheels, 107.9 The FOX, Q98 Rocks, Today's Froggy 99.9, and FM 105.1.

Each year, schools in the metro area try to out-gather each other to see which one can get the most food and donations. Last year, West Fargo's Sheyenne Ninth Grade center won first place in the ninth-grade category; the second time it had done so.

This year, however, that competitive aspect between the metro schools is being downplayed, Stromberg said.

"We're even basing it as more of a community thing than just a school thing," she said.

While food donations may trickle in from generous community members at any time, special events also help expedite the process.

Stromberg said citizens can once again look forward to getting knocks on the door on Halloween as Fill the Domers will be collecting food while "Trick-Or-Canning." And West Fargo students will be selling Fill The Dome bags at Hornbacher's during the two weeks before the finale.

On Oct. 8, an all-city dance dubbed "Fill The Dome-coming," will be held at the Fargodome from 8:30-11:30 p.m. for all area high school students grades 9-12. Entry will be $10 or 10 non-perishable food items. Student ID or Drivers License also is required for entry.

Organizers also have teamed up with Scheels to hold a Fill the Dome 5K in early November, with all proceeds benefitting the food drive.

More general and event information can be found at www.fillthedome.org.

In all, student representatives want to highlight the fact that Fill The Dome is not just about who gets the most food, but something much more.

"It's a big reflection. ... We want to emphasize the great people and the great community we live in," Stromberg said.

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