This Wednesday we continue in sharing events that you can use with your youth ministry throughout the year. Today we look at a good old-fashioned food fight! Our youth ministry has done this for the past four years and always had great success.
Let me explain how it works. The first thing you need to know is that the Food Fight is operating on two levels. Not only will you have a legit food fight, but you will also being tying it together with a charitable act.
When we advertise the food fight, we make sure to tell our students that we are not only going to have fun, but we want to help others who may be less fortunate. In the weeks leading up to the event, set up a box or large container in which students and adults can bring non-perishable food donations in. This is a simple and powerful way to involve and encourage students in an act of generosity!
As far as the game is concerned, it does involve a fair amount of preparation. Everything you need is listed as follows:
PREP TIME – Several days & Staff will be needed on the day of
ITEMS NEEDED – Food (recommendations listed within instructions), Tables, Tarps (to cover tables), Pressure Washers (if on concrete), Goggles, Lights (if not in well lit area), Garbage Cans/Bags, Shovel, Push Broom, Garbage Bags (for participants to use when getting into vehicles after event is finished), Cones (for boundaries)
GAME TIME – 5-10 minutes
PARTICIPANTS – Everyone
As mentioned above, this event takes a fair amount of planning to make it successful. First of all, make sure to advertise (follow the bonus tips listed below) and really push both sides of the event (the food fight & donations).
Our set up consists of a few stages:
1. Purchase the food. You may not be able to get everything post-dated, but it’s a good idea to try. I hate wasting good food for something like this. Contact stores or shops in your area that usually throw out food after a certain date. Explain to them what you’re doing and why you don’t want to waste good food and they will be more inclined to either donate or severely discount their food for you.
Some Suggested Items: Oatmeal, Pancakes & Syrup, Mac & Cheese, Cheetos, Lard, Ketchup (it’s acidic, so be careful of the eyes!), soft tomatoes, PB & Jelly Sandwiches (open up), Chocolate Syrup, Mashed Potatoes, Rice, Beans, Lettuce (just for filler), Flour, Cupcakes, Can of Soda Pop (they shake it up to start and must throw outside of the Food Fight area), Soft Rolls, etc.
Note: Do not use dairy products! Just trust me on this one. They end up smelling terrible afterwards. Substitute water where possible. Remember, you’re not eating this stuff, your chucking it at someone else!
2. Prepare the food. Our food fight requires a ton of food, so I recommend involving other students and parents in the preparation process. Have a few parents or students come in that day to ensure that everything is taken care of the day of the event.
3. Set Up.Our set up consists of four tables. We wrap the tables from top to bottom using saran wrap or tarps (it makes clean up a ton easier!) and then place them in the center of our Food Fight area. We then set up the cones as boundaries. Once that is done, you will need to set up lights, hoses & pressure washers if necessary.
Note: If you are on asphalt, make sure your pressure washer will not destroy the ground or paint if you are in a parking lot. You can either turn down the pressure or make sure to hold the wand at a safe distance from the ground.
4. Explain Rules. No head shots. No throwing at people who are not participating (or the camera person). No coming back in the building once you’ve participated. Stay within boundaries. Wear goggles at all times. Have fun!
5. Play. After explaining all the rules inside, head outside. Hand out goggles and make sure you have all the food placed appropriately and remind them that they can not pick up containers (if they do, the food fight will last about 30 seconds), but must reach into them to throw food.
6. Clean Up. If you are playing on asphalt, you can use pressure washers, push brooms & garbage bags to clean up. If you can play in a field, the clean up might be a bit simpler for you.
1. Make this event an invite night (we do it in conjunction with our Wednesday night service). Your message can center around the practical need of those who are hungry(“whatever we do to the least”) as well as the spiritual hunger that we all have. I titled one of mine, “The Real Food Fight”.
2. Create “touch cards” & posters for students to hand out or hang on their locker at school. Make sure the event, time, location & contact information are clearly marked. You’d be surprised by how many people want to get in on a food fight.
3. Advertise it. You don’t have to spend money, but you can created an event on Facebook, Tweet & Retweet on Twitter and hand out postcards to students & parents.
4. Film the event! I still see people post old videos of this event from time to time.
5. Don’t make everyone participate. If they don’t want to get down and dirty, that’s fine. I encourage them to, but I never force them to.
6. Make them wear goggles! We’ve had two incidents in the years we’ve done this event. Both were results of someone failing to wear their goggles. You can buy goggles at the Dollar Store, so make sure to take a trip there before you play.
7. Have a clean up crew. If you’re on cement, the clean up is probably going to take you a few hours. The more pressure washers and workers you have, the quicker the clean up goes.
8. If possible, take a shower and change your clothes before you start cleaning. I speak from experience on this one. It stinks, literally & figuratively, being covered in food, so make sure to get cleaned up as best as possible before you spend a few hours cleaning.
9. Clearly stipulate that no one is to go back inside after participating in the food fight. Have them look at the person next to them and have them all repeat, “that means you”! Trust me, someone always thinks they’re the exception.