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Team Red vs. Team Blue: Competition Raising Funds to Help Iowa Families

FD high fives kids

This article is written by Krystal Sidzyik. It was posted April 4, 2017 on

It's a battle for the ages.

In one corner: The Council Bluffs Police Department. representing Team Blue. In the other corner: The Council Bluffs Fire Department, representing Team Red.

The competition: To see who can collect the most hygiene and household products to benefit Boys Town Iowa.

Will the fire department retain their bragging rights and traveling trophy this year or will the police department snag the win?

This is the second year Boys Town Iowa has teamed up with local organizations and schools to host the competition that will benefit area families.

Last year, nine barrels were placed at different sites in the community, collecting 2,000 pounds of household and hygiene products — which is the equivalent of a fully-grown polar bear.

This year, more than 50 barrels have been placed in the community at 30 different sites. More information on drop box locations can be found online at

Organizations participating this year include Google, Mercy Hospital, Jennie Edmundson Hospital, Iowa Western Community College and 11 schools from the Council Bluffs and Lewis Central Community School Districts.

A representative of Team Red, Hoover Elementary hosted a kick-off event Friday morning during a school assembly.

Fifth-grade students in the talented and gifted program helped organize the event, dressing as different hygiene products and performing a skit on stage to help garner support and excitement from other students about the competition.

"This project encompassed creativity and put them out of their comfort zone," said Rhonda Leffler, TAG curriculum specialist. "It's an opportunity that they wouldn't have had otherwise."

Students will collect products all month. The class that collects the most will be awarded an extra recess. Students will also wear red on Fridays in support of the event.

"I think it's a great idea," said Dave Andersen with the fire department. "It's good public awareness and helps with the community."

Items needed include shampoo, conditioner, unscented deodorant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, feminine hygiene products, lotion, disposable razors, toilet paper, paper towels, Kleenex, laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaner, rags and sponges, buckets, dishwasher detergent, bathroom cleaners, sanitizer, diapers and baby wipes, baby bottles and sippy cups, childproofing accessories, bug bombs and ant traps. Items donated must be full-size, new and unopened.

Boys Town Iowa serves more than 1,000 families and more than 2,000 children every year. The organization helps families and parents experiencing poverty by donating basic need items like hygiene and cleaning supplies to area families.

"Many of our families are suffering from drug addiction or alcohol abuse," said Patrick Garcia, community engagement developer for Boys Town Iowa. "In order to provide appropriate parenting to children — when we're helping families learn those skills — we also help them to have the products available to help keep the children safe and healthy."

The competition will continue through April. A winner will be announced during a celebration from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 4 at the Boys Town Iowa office, 1702 W. Broadway, Suite 17.

The celebration will be open to the public, and food and refreshments will be provided. A fire truck, police cruisers and the K-9 unit will be at the event.

"It's pretty neat to see how the community actually got behind this," Garcia said. "This week, more than 190 shirts will be delivered to community members and on the back it says, 'A community that makes a difference,' and I truly believe that's what happened this year."