POULSBO — Consider the woeful fate of the 1976 Vega that was parked outside Poulsbo Junior High Wednesday afternoon.
Not only did it suffer the embarrassment of being a 1976 Vega — it had been towed to the school from an auto-wrecking yard, engineless and windowless; it had been covered with good-natured graffiti by students; and, as hundreds of people watched, it had a net filled with 4,200 pounds of food poised above it.
And it was all in the name of charity.
Poulsbo Junior High students had spent several weeks collecting food for Fishline, which will use the donations to feed needy families throughout the holiday season.
On Wednesday, the students got their reward: a chance to see the food they had collected crush a car.
Erin Murphy, the Associated Student Body advisor, came up with the idea to top last year’s “Fill the Bus” food drive, during which students had packed a school bus with boxes of food.
“It’s my job as an ASB advisor to be creative,” she said.
Murphy said she originally wanted a VW Bug (as in “crushing a bug”) but the car’s popularity made it unavailable.
Instead, Airport Auto-wrecking had another suggestion so the car-crushing could take place.
“We got the Vega and we’re thankful for it,” Murphy said.
Dry goods were not included in the net because of concerns that they would be damaged by the impact. Canned goods were put inside boxes to lessen the blow. The boxes were then loaded into a net.
As the students and adults watched, the crane howled to life — it sounded like an airplane triggering its engines — and lifted the net, which sagged under the weight of two short tons of food.
As the crane careful positioned the net a few feet above the car, the students changed cheered, chanted “Crush the car!” and, in at least one case, waved good-bye.
The crane operator lowered the net quickly, and it landed on the Vega’s roof, which immediately buckled and caved.
The crane lifted and dropped the food again, then again.
The fourth drop made the car buckle and crunch against the ground below it.
The fifth collapsed the back end.
The car endured seven drops total and when the net was finally lowered for good, it had been a perfect success: one crushed car and no damaged boxes of food.
Donations were taken to Fishline Food Bank immediately after the car-crushing.
And despite being the star of the day, the poor Vega got no respect.
“I don’t know what’s better, raising all that food or taking another Vega out of the world,” one observer joked.