Did you know that school food drives provide more food to local pantries than any other source? Or that more than 50,000 schools hold some sort of hunger relief effort or another? I bet your school or your parent group collects food for the hungry already.

In a time when school news and stories about our schoolchildren are so often negative, this is a huge positive that gets way too little attention. We’re about to change that.

Here at PTO Today, we’re proud to be collaborating on a new nonprofit initiative called Schools Fight Hunger. Schools Fight Hunger aims to bring all of America’s schools and school families together through a national food drive to help end childhood hunger in America. We’re going to shine a bright light on all the good work schools are already doing for the cause. We want to help you do even more and encourage even more schools to join in.

If your school or parent group already has a hunger effort, please connect it to Schools Fight Hunger by registering your drive at schoolsfighthunger.org. There are free tools and posters and tips there to make your drive even better, and you can also make sure that your results get added to the national tally.

Find community service ideas for kids, classrooms, and families

If you don’t already run a food drive, we hope you’ll start this year. The schoolsfighthunger.org site has tons of resources to help you do just that. If we can go from 50,000 schools collecting food for the hungry to 60,000 schools doing the same, then we can feed literally millions of additional hungry kids and families.

By getting all this good work connected, we’re hoping to collect more than 5 million pounds of food for local pantries this school year alone. Your school can be part of the largest coordinated food drive in the country.

March 2011 will be the inaugural National School Food Drive Month, and we’re planning a whole host of activities and publicity to encourage food drives during that month. But it’s no problem if your drive takes place at another time. The key thing is to keep doing the good work and to connect that work with other schools nationwide. It’s a movement, and you’ll be on the leading edge.

Besides filling the shelves at local pantries, Schools Fight Hunger is also about teaching our kids the importance and the value of service. A key concept is “Good Giving”—giving is good; Good Giving is better. Good Giving will be a theme throughout the year: A food drive is good; a food drive that includes education for the entire school about service and hunger is better. A food drive in November is good; a food drive in March (when pantry shelves are much more bare) is better. Donating food is good; donating highly nutritious foods like cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, and peanut butter is better.

Schools Fight Hunger will make it easier for all schools to help make this happen. I hope you’ll make this a Schools Fight Hunger year at your school.