Thousands of pounds of food

Every year, our school district rakes in thousands of packaged goods to help members of our community take care of their families. And this year was no exception. Each day, students raced to the cafeteria, boxes, bags of cans, and other goods in hand. Friday brought in the most inventory, with some homerooms supplying over one thousand goods. The bags were labelled with the names of first period teachers, passed on for a point count, handed over to the students packing boxes, and carried off to two stacks, one for the Lampeter-Strasburg YMCA Annual Turkey Drive and another for two local food banks at Strasburg Presbyterian Church and Lampeter United Methodist Church. 
Seniors Emily Deardorff, Riley Lewis, and Dan Long organize
items donated for the food drive
Points mattered the most to some, while others had more altruistic motives. Two categories, large and small homerooms, competed for the spot at the top of their respective rank lists. Students scrambled to accumulate five point items, such as canned gravy, boxed stuffing, instant rice, and even ketchup and mustard. Some goods, like instant pudding and salt and pepper, were worth one point, but that did not stop kids from bringing them in. They raided cupboards for anything they could find that might push their homeroom forward in the competition. However, if  a glass jar or an expired item came into the drive, no points would be awarded. 

The officers then divided total scores of homerooms by number of people in the class. For example, a homeroom with twenty students that brings in 200 points worth of items has a class worth of ten points per student. At the end of each day, the current rankings rattled through the PA system. The same names popped up consistently: St. John, Stunja, and Mountz. Mrs. St. John coordinates the drive, so her homeroom's motivation was obvious. Other names occasionally surfaced, such as Spangler, Swarr, and Clark, but none of these classrooms kept a tight grip on their placement. 
These skids were loaded on Friday, when the most donations came in
The Friday of the food drive week usually carries with it a flood of donations. The dedicated people that supervised the drive this year had to ask for some extra help from students around the school. Chaos ensued as hundreds of cans and other assorted goods had to be sorted away. The stacked cardboard boxes sat precariously beside the doors, reminding the volunteers of their important work. It was laborious work, too, but eventually, the boxes were hauled off to the two food collection facilities and the points were tallied. 

That Friday afternoon, students and teachers awaited the final rankings for the food drive competition. Each placing homeroom would receive a cooked breakfast courtesy of Darrenkamp’s consisting of bacon, eggs, donuts, fruit salad, pancakes, milk, and more. 

David Johnson’s disembodied voice finally announced the final winners of this year’s tournament. And the winners for the large homeroom race were:

Third Place: Mrs. Stunja
Second Place: Mr. Sterner
First Place: Mr. Titter
Small Homeroom: Mrs. Kochel

Two names had risen from the dust, two homerooms that had not placed before Friday. Mr. Titter’s classroom donated literally thousands of goods to the turkey drive and food banks. Mr. Sterner’s classroom had made a deal with their teacher that pushed them forward. A test was scheduled for Friday, but none of the students felt prepared. So, Mr. Sterner told them that if they donated 200 goods and 20 pairs of sneakers (for a concurrent sneaker drive run by the Varsity Club), he would push the test back to Monday and review with them on Friday. The class was so determined that they ended up bringing around 90 pairs of shoes and a lot more than 200 items. It just goes to show that determination can get you far.
Student council members tabulate points for canned goods
But it is not just about the points. This food drive helps so many members of our community that do not have necessities that many take for granted. Thanksgiving dinner prices can add up to a hefty bill, and some families just do not possess that kind of money. Thanks to our school district’s valiant efforts, more families have that opportunity. Everyday, we open our cupboards and barely glance at the food that fills them, when just next door, there are families who do not know when, or if, they are getting their next meal. Thankfully, the food drive helped with this situation. Every can of soup and box of stuffing means another empty stomach filled. Sometimes, we just need to stop and thank our lucky stars that we have what we do. Just donating even a few items can make a difference. After all, every family deserves something for which to be thankful and Thanksgiving.

--Lillian Murr, LSNews.org School News Editor; Photos by Ashley Crutcher, LSNews.org Co-Director of Photography

Edited: BP


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