Teacher Ronnie Simmons has enlisted the help of students and his fellow teachers at Vilonia High School to help gather donated food to fill the bare pantries of Soul Food Cafe Mission, an organization in Conway that helps feed the hungry.

"We have learned they need help and the demand is great," Simmons said. "They have contacted us and said their pantries are bare."

A challenge was issued Monday, by Simmons, to second block students and teachers asking for help. As an incentive, he said, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization in the school will provide a "make your own sundae" party for the class that delivers the greatest volume of food by weight.

"I told them your goal is to compete for the sundae party," Simmons said. "Our goal is to feed as many people as we can."

The competition among the students is to ended Friday but the drive will continue, Simmons added, for at least one more week and will include the community.

Students are collecting cereal, macaroni, rice, beans, packaged items and canned goods to help the Mission provide

food boxes and hot meals to the needy. Temporarily housed in the Second Baptist Church in Conway, the Mission’s facility burned in August.

Volunteers gather weekly and continue to hand out food. Maxine Brinsfield of Vilonia, made the request to the school. She said she volunteers every Monday and helps to make food boxes for more than 200 people.

"We have been very low lately on non-perishable food items," she emphasized.

Food items are being collected in Room 309 at the high school through the upcoming week. Simmons said he is very familiar with the Mission’s work and has a personal incentive to help.

"I immediately knew I wanted to help when I heard they were running low on items. The Mission is special to me," he explained. "Before my aunt died, she would go there and they would help her. That’s my personal incentive. They never turned her down."