DeKALB – Jefferson Elementary School students are proud of donating to the Freezin’ for Food drive that collects nonperishable food for the DeKalb Salvation Army food pantry.
Principal Cristy Meyer said a third-grader smiled broadly and announced: “Mrs. Meyer, look at all these cans I’m bringing.”
At least five area schools are participating in the 13th annual Freezin’ for Food drive collection, which will run from noon today through Saturday. WLBK-AM Morning Show host T.D. Ryan will camp out at the Target-Aldi shopping center throughout the drive so school children and area residents can drop off donations. The shopping center is in the 2500 block of Sycamore Road in DeKalb.
Organizers again have a goal of collecting 17,000 pounds of food, after collecting 17,026 pounds of food and about $3,000 in cash donations last year.
It’s the first year Malta Elementary School will participate. Principal Troy Miller said the school is holding the drive in coordination with Helping Hands, which collected winter clothes for children in need.
The food drive fits perfectly with Malta Elementary’s “How Full Is Your Bucket?” program, which teaches children that doing positive things fills their emotional bucket, Miller said.
“We’re always trying to teach students they belong to a larger community,” he said, “and to give back to realize some people are less fortunate than themselves.”
That’s the same type of lesson Meyer teaches her students at Jefferson in DeKalb.
Meyer was principal at DeKalb’s Lincoln Elementary School when DeKalb resident Roger Lemke first approached her with the idea for Freezin’ for Food. Meyer has been participating in the drive for about six years.
Fifth-graders at Jefferson collected food by putting a bin at a different location in the school each day, Meyer said. She will announce the class that donated the most food Friday on WLBK-AM. Two fifth-graders also will get a chance to talk on the radio about why they donated.
Last year, Jefferson Elementary collected 1,122 lbs.
Many families at the school are struggling financially, so it’s heartwarming to see them donate, Meyer said.
“It’s pretty amazing that families are providing for others when there’s such a great need within our own walls,” she said.
At Lincoln Elementary School, students are competing between classes and charting how much they collect on a graph. For every 10 donations, one graphic is put on the chart.
Current Lincoln principal Anna Hoyou also will take two fifth-graders with her Friday to the Target-Aldi shopping center parking lot to be on the radio.
Students at the school collected food for two weeks as part of its positive behavior system, which teaches children how to care for self, others and the environment as one of its school expectations, Hoyou said.
“It contributes to the larger idea that it’s not always [about] what they get out of it,” she said, “but what other people in the community get,” she said.