Real holiday cheer: UHS students help feed the hungry, again

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Latest food drive collects 4,000-plus items for Kennett Food Cupboard

By Mike McGann, Editor, UnionvilleTimes.com

Unionville High School students sort through hundred of boxes of food collected by students for the Kennett Food Cupboard. In just a few weeks, students managed to collect more than 4,000 items which will go to feed the hungry during the holiday season.

EAST MARLBOROUGH — Although this is the season of giving, for most folks that amounts to a trip to the mall to buy gifts for friends and family.

And while that new iPod or a bottle of aftershave is nice, few things can compare to a warm, nutritious meal when you’re hungry and can’t afford food.

Students at Unionville High School have spent the last month working on a new food drive for the Kennett Food Cupboard — responding once again to pleas for help, as local food bank supplies are very low.

More than a dozen students gathered Thursday morning to load up a large panel truck and a van with an estimated more than 4,000 food items collected by students — in a campaign that started after Thanksgiving, and came on the heels of successful food drive by the school’s 10th grade. The collected food literally covered the sidewalk in front of the school’s entrance, Thursday morning as students awaited trucks to carry the goods to Kennett Square.

The generosity and willingness to do good for others in the community by her students left high school principal Paula Massanari impressed and maybe even a little surprised.

Unionville High School students and teacher Dori Ray (right) with the enormous supply of food collected for the Kennett Food Cupboard, Thursday morning.

“You have to understand that this came right off the 10th grade officers organizing a food drive — a bit of a competition against their counterparts at Kennett High School,” Masanari said, but even after collecting thousands of food items just in time for the holidays, she got one more surprise.

“I offered to make breakfast for the class that collected the most cans,” she said. “Mr. (Clee) Brun’s class brought in 288 cans…but instead of breakfast, they asked me to write a check to the cupboard instead for whatever breakfast would have cost.”

This drive came into being quickly, sparked by three teachers: Dori Ray, Ann Schott and Mike Mangan. Word spread quickly via email and within days the drive was in full force.

In addition to the obvious value to the community — with the weak economy and poverty levels a levels not seen since the Great Depression, local food banks have been taxed and have been in danger of running out of food — the teachers said they saw the food drive as opportunity for education, a way to help their students become part of a bigger community.

Unionville High School students load a district panel truck with food collected as part of the drive for the Kennett Food Cupboard.

“I think we need to instill that sense of community in our students,” Schott said.

Based on the success of this drive — and a number of other food drives this calendar year — not only is that sense of community there, it has a strong pull on Unionville students.

Although dozens and dozens of students were directly involved with the food drive and hundreds more helped out by bringing in donations, it came down to couple of dozen to load the haul of boxed and canned food into trucks for delivery to the Kennett Food Cupboard.

Some of the students who loaded the food included: Stephen Lange, Maddie Bove, Erin Walther, Alex Stanton, Bridget Bulkley, Simon Galer, Trevor Dycio, Conor Murray, Spencer Hendrixson, Gabi Jackson, Jared Murphy, Malorie Murray, Emily Winn, Erin Karcher, Marissa Walsh, Kayla Rasmussen and Alex DiFelice.

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