MED Students Collect Mountain of Food for Area Pantries
A charitable food drive at Chatham’s Mary E. Dardess Elementary School added up to a lot more than just a hill of beans. Throughout the month of January, M.E.D. students collected a mountain of nourishment for area families in need – over twenty-six hundred non-perishable food items in all.
The food drive was designed to encourage students to demonstrate good citizenship by helping others. It was initiated by the school’s Character Education Committee, a group of teachers charged with creating character building opportunities for grades K-4.
“We are blown away with the generosity of our students and their families,” said M.E.D. teacher Kalyn Fleck, who helped organize the collection. “You wouldn’t believe the enthusiasm they showed. I saw kids coming to school with more cans than they could carry.”
Just one example of that enthusiasm was 3rd grader Mathew Allen, who, along with food, brought in four $25 gift cards. The gift cards were purchased with a $100 bill Matthew had recently found on the street. As Matthew explained, “sometimes the food pantry can’t supply food for cats and dogs, and it could be used for that.”
To give the collection a competitive flavor, the school made it clear that the grade level which brought in the most donations would win a popcorn movie party. Staff kept a tally and each week an announcement was made as to which grade was in the lead.
As the food streamed in, it was placed in the school’s front entrance display widow, where students, staff and parents took delight in watching the pile grow. By the end of January, the students had gathered a whopping 2,658 non-perishable food items.
As for the class that brought in the most goods, the school declared a tie between the kindergarten and third grade, earning both a class party.
The food, gift cards and other donations collected were delivered to the Chatham Food Pantry and the Ghent Food Pantry in early February. The Ghent food pantry told us it was the largest single donation of items they have ever received!