Troup High School took home the prize Friday, not only for the football game against LaGrange High, but for the most food items donated in a competition spearheaded by two homegrown celebrities.
Troup High graduate Elijah Kelley, now a performer in Hollywood movies like “Hairspray,” “Red Tails” and “Lee Daniel’s The Butler,” danced on the field and held the trophy high Friday after officials announced that Troup won the inaugural Battle of the Harvest food drive competition. THS collected 6,450 food items to LaGrange High’s 4,356 during the month of October.
“It feels awesome that we won,” Kelley said after results were announced before the football game’s kickoff. “The most important thing is the whole life impact this will have on people in the community.”
Kelley said he was approached by LaGrange High graduate Wesley Woodyard, Denver Broncos linebacker, and his 16 Ways Foundation about partnering with the Elijah Kelley foundation for the drive. The competition, giving a trophy and bragging rights to the school that collects the most food items, would spur donations for the community.
“Wesley and I felt it was important for the city to help itself,” Kelley said. “You can go out and ask people for food, or solicit help from someone else, but it’s so much more powerful to help people help themselves.”
Woodyard said he and Kelley wanted to spur something that would give back to the community by encouraging the upcoming generation to continue helping.
“Elijah and I wanted to do something for the community to give back,” Woodyard said. “Especially something that would excite the kids to give back to the community. They are the ones that we need to lift up and who will then uplift the community.”
All together, the two schools collected 10,806 food items. Troup’s donations go to Salvation Army and LaGrange’s donations go to LaGrange Personal Aid.
Woodyard and Kelley want the competition to become an annual event.