Posted Date: 02/22/2018
Food drive inspires generosity at Chanute Elementary
Every year the Communities in Schools coordinators sponsor a food drive at Chanute Elementary School. This year’s drive that ended Friday may not have been as “productive” as years past, but it resulted in some unexpected generosity and donors.
On collection day, CHS basketball players gathered up 900 items in boxes and bags from every classroom at the elementary school. What they carried from Patty Beard’s classroom represented almost 20 percent of the total.
Beard said she’d been talking with her fifth graders about how the food drive is a good cause and that the food pantries help people in the Chanute community. Referring to the One School One Book story that the students just finished reading, they discussed how the characters struggled to find food in Antarctica. “We discussed how (the food drive) would help people in our community and how some people might do without, if it wasn't available for them,” Beard said. “Many of my students commented on how they would love to help.”
Beard found a way for her students to contribute.
“I told them I had bought things for the food drive and if they wanted to help, they could buy them with their Star Bucks they've earned in class,” Beard said.
The students earn Star Bucks in their classroom for things like staying on task, helping others when needed, and setting a good example for others to follow.
“I expected some to join in but was surprised when they all wanted to donate,” the teacher said. After everyone took a turn to purchase items for the food drive, some of the students wanted to buy more. When she ran out of food, some of the students were disappointed
“I allowed them to purchase more (but) had to go to the store during my lunch hour to purchase the extra items they bought. When we counted (it up) we had 193 items,” she said. They told her they wanted to make it to 200, so she found some food in the classroom they could purchase.
“It was wonderful seeing how excited they were to help and I was amazed at how much they contributed,” Beard said. “They spent 252 Star Bucks they have earned this quarter to purchase the items they donated. I'm very proud to have such a wonderful group of caring students”
Touched by the students’ generosity, Beard’s paraprofessional, Tabitha King, donated $25 to buy more items at the store for the students to purchase.
“I used up all my Star Bucks,” one girl told the athletes picking up the food.
“The students use their earned Star Bucks to buy themselves items at the Star Bucks store each quarter. So they gave up the things they could buy for themselves to help others,” Beard said.
“Look at her thinking outside of the box,” said CIS Coordinator Angie VanLeeuwen when she heard what Beard had done.
“I know. That is awesome,” CIS Coordinator Rachel Harrington said.
The CIS coordinators said they were “super appreciative” of the 910 items donated for local food pantries, even though it was one-third of what was collected last year.
“It’s our way to give back to the community,” Harrington said. “We refer people to the food pantry so we want to be able to give back.”
The coordinators especially appreciated the extra help they received from the CHS basketball teams.
Their help “cut down the collection time immensely,” VanLeeuwen said. “It took all afternoon last year.”
“They were absolutely great,” Harrington added, finishing the job in about 30 minutes.
The top class from each grade level earned a party from CIS. The winning classrooms are Hailey Dean’s kindergarten, Elizabeth Leroy’s first grade, Lisa Ruark’s second grade, Alison Morris’ third grade, Judy McCready’s fourth grade, and Patty Beard’s fifth grade.
Royster Middle School also held a food drive last week. The students brought in 735 non-perishable food items and raised $174 for the local food pantries. The Trailblazers House took the prize for the most donations.
Story by: Connie Woodard