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Food drives underway on campuses

Rinat Hrydniev, Isaac Sanders and Nolan Bellerose.

During the pandemic last year, the outpouring of donations for the annual districtwide Angel Tree food drive was record setting, and organizers hope that momentum continues as schools have already started collecting food.

These efforts make sure less fortunate families in the community can enjoy meals during the Christmas break as part of the Lions Clubs’ Angel Tree Program that also provides toys and clothes to families in need. Food drives will conclude after Thanksgiving break to allow volunteers time to sort and organize items.

Last year’s drive during a pandemic broke a record with 24,572 food items donated, which was up by more than 3,200 compared to 2019. Harper Elementary was the BIG winner with 8,137 items collected, followed by Smith Elementary with 4,332 donations and Southard Middle School with 2,562.

Isaac Sanders makes a donation.

Organizers say student participation in the food drive is important because it sends a message to kids about civic responsibility and caring for the community.

"It helps us be united as a community," said Clark Middle School National Junior Honor Society historian Nassi Nzungani.

The students also realize the significance of charitable giving.

“It's important for us to get involved in food drives because people who don't have as much privilege to buy expensive or good quality food can have the closest experience as we do,” Southard National Jr. Honor Society officer Alden Crisp said. “It also teaches students to be involved in our community and be a giving person and help someone out when they need it.”

Food drive organizers on the campuses also understand that local residents are getting the assistance they need.

"It's good to see people get food so they have what they need," said Godwin 5th-grader Bella Carreon, who is part of the campus’ Kindness Krew.

It is important for students to understand that some of their classmates may not have enough food to eat.

"It's important that everybody in the world gets what they need, without having to ask twice, because they might have to go without," said Godwin Kindness Krew member Eve Pate, who is a 5th-grader.

Having students participate in a food drive that benefits local families is a learning experience.

"It is important for students to be involved in the food drive for the community because it helps our community by giving food to people in need,” Clark NJHS member Macy Harpole said. “It also teaches students responsibility."

Nolan Bellerose makes a donation.

Making food drives a group effort or competition encourages participation and shows students every little bit matters. It also becomes rewarding for the students to be involved.

“The best thing about being involved in the food drive is seeing the smiles on their faces and knowing we helped someone out," Clark NJHS president Chloe Jones said.

It’s not just about food, it’s about community.

“I think the best thing about being able to participate in a food drive is that some people don’t have enough or don’t have extra to give,” said Lowe 4th-grader Jane Okoro. “And I think it is so good that people can participate in a drive to help out.”

There are big goals for this year.

“Even one can makes a difference,” said Lions Club president Casey Gunnels. “We would like to break the record set last year of food item donations.”

Christ Cares for Princeton, which operates the local food pantry out of Faith Baptist Church, offers these recommendations for food donations based on needs in the local community:

Canned vegetables and fruit

Dry cereal

Oatmeal

Sugar

Dried rice

Dried pinto beans

Canned tomato/spaghetti sauce

Pasta

Boxed mac and cheese

Hamburger/tuna helper

Peanut butter

Cooking oil

Ketchup/mayo/mustard

Crackers

Pork ‘n beans

Soups

Canned/bottled juice

Ramen noodles

Cornbread mixes

Pudding/jello/cake mixes

High-need items this year include canned meat, peanut butter, jelly, pancake mix and syrup.

Below is a recap of how to donate on each campus.

Princeton High

Student Council is organizing the food drive beginning Nov. 2 and will deliver boxes to Pride Time classes for collections. The food drive ends Nov. 30. The winning Pride Time class gets a pizza party.

Lovelady High

Student Council is organizing the food drive Nov. 2-19. The winning 3rd-period class gets a pizza party.

Clark Middle School

The Clark Middle School chapter of National Jr. Honor Society is sponsoring a food drive Nov. 2-19. There will be a box in each teacher's classroom and students will be competing to win a donut party. Students need to deliver their canned good donations to their 3rd-period teacher. Each donated food item will receive one point and the high-need items (peanut butter, jelly, pancake mix, syrup and canned meats) will each receive two points. Five individual packs of Ramen noodles will count as one point.

Southard Middle School

The Southard Middle School chapter of National Jr. Honor Society is sponsoring the food drive, which is underway until Nov. 17. The contest will be between the 5th-period classes. The class that brings the most items will receive a donut and juice party.

High-need items include:

Canned meat

Peanut butter

Jelly

Pancake mix

Syrup

Godwin Elementary

Godwin is organizing the food drive with its Kindness Krew led by teacher Mandy Pagano through homeroom classes until Nov. 19. The winning class will win a popcorn party.

To work toward getting more high-need items, Godwin will count those items as 2 points each. Last year, the campus collected 1,467 items. This year, the goal is 1,600 items. According to Principal Marlena Brown, if Godwin surpasses last year's goal, the whole campus will get a popcorn party and teachers will get a free jeans day, and Ms. Brown will buy pizza for the winning class.

Round 1 High-need items: Oct. 25-Nov. 5 (=2 points each)

Monday: Pancake mix and syrup

Tuesday: Canned meats (Spam, tuna, chicken, etc.)

Wednesday: Peanut Butter and Jelly

Thursday: Canned or instant potatoes

Friday: Dried pinto beans, navy beans, etc.

Round 2 Nov. 8-12 (=1 point each)

Monday: Canned pasta (Spaghettios, Ravioli)

Tuesday: Packaged fruits, applesauce

Wednesday: Cornbread mixes

Thursday: Spaghetti noodles and spaghetti sauce

Friday: Canned vegetables and soup

Round 3 Nov. 15-19 (=1 point each)

Monday: Cake mixes

Tuesday: Rice

Wednesday: Breakfast cereals

Thursday: Canned vegetables

Friday: Chili and saltines

Harper Elementary

Harper is hosting “Hunger Heroes” Nov. 2-19.

Homeroom teachers collect any non-perishable food items each day and place them in their box outside their room each morning. Student Council will collect and tally points each day. The top three classrooms with the most points at the end of the day Nov. 20 will win:

1st place – Pizza party

2nd place – Wacky cake party

3rd place – Popcorn party

Teacher prizes for most donations by homeroom class:

1st place – Mani/pedi

2nd place – Lunch of choice

3rd place – Dutch Bros

These are the hero level items which are worth triple points on the designated days:

Nov. 4: Canned meat (Spam, tuna, chicken)

Nov. 11: Pancake mix and syrup

Nov. 18: Peanut butter and jelly

Lacy Elementary

Lacy students can take donations to their homeroom teacher until Nov. 19. Prizes will be awarded to students in the Top 3 classes that collect the most food. First place – Burger King or Popeye’s kids meal, prize from the school store and extra recess; second place – Burger King or Popeye’s kids meal and extra recess; and third place – extra recess.

Lowe Elementary

Lowe students can take donations to their homeroom teacher until Nov. 29. Prizes will be awarded to students in the Top 3 classes that collect the most food. First place – donut party; second place – popcorn party; and third place – extra recess. For more information, email bjensen@princetonisd.net.

Smith Elementary

Smith Elementary will hold its annual canned food drive until Nov. 19 to benefit the students and families of Princeton ISD. To participate, send non-perishable food items with your child. Students will drop their food items into their homeroom box at the entry of the school so they may be counted. There will be prizes for the best decorated collection boxes.

Bonus item competition days include:

Nov. 3 – canned meats (class with the most gets an extra recess)

Nov. 10 – pancake mix and syrup (class with the most gets a hat day)

Nov. 17 – peanut butter and jelly (class with the most gets a PJ day)

The Top 3 homeroom classes with the highest number of items win a prize.

Canup Early Childhood Center

Canup students can take donations to their homeroom teacher until Nov. 17. Prizes will be awarded to students in the Top 3 classes that collect the most food. First place – “Challenge Accepted” with students challenging the superintendent to minute-to-win-it games; second place – pajama day; and third place – donut day.

Teacher incentives: For every 20 cans brought in by a teacher, their name gets entered into a weekly drawing for gift cards. If a teacher brings in a high-need item, they get an additional entry for the drawing.