WARSAW — Fifth-graders from Harrison Elementary School, Warsaw, braved chilly temperatures and winds Friday afternoon, Nov. 13, to help feed the local community.
Students in kindergarten through sixth grade held a two-week competition to see which class could bring in the most individual food items to donate to the pantry at Combined Community Services. In all, the students collected 5,412 individual food items, exceeding last year’s count of 4,215 by more than 1,000.
The top three classes this year were all fifth-graders, with Ed Jarrett’s class bringing in the most, followed by Linda Moore’s class and Sarah South’s class. These classes not only won a pizza party to enjoy, they had the privilege of hand-delivering the food to CCS.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to enrich the lives of others by giving back to the community,” Harrison Principal Lee Snider said.
PE teacher Scott Mehlberg heads up the project each year and led the way on a Gator tractor pulling a trailer full of food. Officers from the Warsaw Police Department escorted the parade of students and halted traffic so they could pass. The young hat-and-scarf clad delivery crew did not even seem to mind the cold as they toted their donations the several blocks to CCS’s door.
“I love the community involvement of the kids,” CCS Director of Emergency Assistance Peggi Lisenbee-Wright said. “Harrison pushed us over to break last year’s record.”
Other Warsaw schools have held food drives this year, as well. Lisenbee-Wright noted that the food brought in will last the pantry through February or March, when donations are lightest.
For Mehlberg, seeing the students learn generosity is a rewarding experience.
“Kids will never learn to give back unless they’re taught,” he said. “That’s what I would hope to try to do. We’re in this together.”