Win Free College Money and Take a Bite Out of Hunger

It’s hard to find college scholarships for young kids. Olive Garden’s annual essay contest gives students as young as the first grade a chance to compete for a $2,500 savings bond and a family trip to New York City.

To apply for the 17th Annual Pasta Tales Essay Writing Contest, students must submit a 50 to 250-word essay with their ideas on how to end hunger in their community.

Olive Garden will also provide a $5,000 grant to bring the grand prize winner’s hunger initiative to life. This is a great opportunity to get your child excited about helping their community, with a shot at some great prizes to boot.

Try these steps to help your child craft a strong essay:

Skip the first idea that comes to mind, or at least tweak it a bit. While a canned food drive is a popular method of supporting food banks, it smacks of been there, done that.

Challenge your child to be creative and inventive. Make a list of ideas and plans, no matter how fantastic or impossible they may seem. You can always streamline later.

Understand the judging process. This essay contest will be judged in six areas:

  • Creativity
  • Adherence to theme
  • Organization
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling

Keep the sponsors in mind. The 17th Annual Pasta Tales Essay Writing Contest is sponsored by Olive Garden and its parent company, Darden Restaurants.

Not that you would do this, but it’s safe to say that an essay that is critical of these companies and/or the restaurant industry might not end up in the winner’s circle.

Write tight. Two hundred and fifty words is not a lot of room. Aim for short, clear sentences. Jump right to the point with the first line. Read and re-read for words that can be trimmed.

Respect the deadline. All entries are due by March 22. There’s a school of thought that says it’s best to apply in the middle of the application period. Enter too early and the judges are likely to scrutinize the application more closely. If you enter closer to deadline, the judges may be tired and worn down by the process. Hey, judges are humans, too.

My advice: take as much time as needed to produce a strong essay, but aim to submit at least three weeks before the deadline.

Enjoy the process. A $2,500 savings bond and a family trip to New York City is a fabulous grand prize. The $500 savings bonds for the winners in each of the 12 grades are nothing to sneeze at.

But the greatest prize is the chance to have a thoughtful discussion with your child about something that matters. I know I’m curious to find out how my kids will take a bite out of hunger.

According to Feeding America, hunger impacts one in six people in the United States. To be a part of the solution, enter the 17th Annual Pasta Tales Essay Writing Contest.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. I caught a company doing something awesome and I wanted to share it with you. Best of luck to all those who enter the essay contest. Please let me know if you win. I’d love to celebrate with you.

To my readers: What will you do in New York, if you win? What are your essay writing tips? How are you helping hunger in your community?

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About Nicole Robinson

Nicole Robinson is a Dallas-based freelance writer who specializes in college planning, parenting, women’s lifestyle, education, and self-help. But she's always hungry to munch on new topics. In addition to writing for The BookWormMama blog, Nicole provides content, copywriting and proofreading services for various publications.


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