Elkhart students launch community food drive

Central and Memorial students will be collecting food for Church Community Services until May 8. 

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 5:20 p.m.

Breakfast was worth just $1.44.

Students who had bagels, fruit and juice at Church Community Services on Tuesday, April 15, didn't realize the significance of their meal until later. 

They gathered to kick off a food drive for the community. But the people they will be helping aren't some far-off group, CCS director Rod Roberson told the students. 

"We serve people here who might be your classmates," he said. "You may never know it."

The $1.44 breakfast is typical of what a person on S.N.A.P. (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) would have to spend on breakfast, said Jessica Hilary of the nonprofit Northern Indiana Student Hunger Drive.

And though SNAP is supposed to be supplemental, Hilary said many people she works with rely on the government program for all their food.

That's the situation that some Elkhart students are in, Roberson said. He encouraged students to see the drive as a way to "do something that's bigger than you."

"Make sure you say, internally, that this is something you're proud to be doing," he said. 

Students leading this food drive are on the Superintendent's Student Advisory Council at Central and Memorial.

They are students who have leadership ability and are willing to give feedback on what's going on at the schools, said Memorial's assistant principal Cary Anderson.

A group from each school performed a short skit related to the hunger needs of people in Elkhart County on Tuesday, before the end of the kickoff event.

Northern Indiana Student Hunger Drive started in St. Joseph County in 2012 but this is the first year it's happened in Elkhart. 

Students usually compete against other schools to collect the most food, but since Central and Memorial are the only two schools in the county participating they are combining their efforts. 

"Our goal is to get three items per person in the building," said Jason Grasty, assistant principal at Central. 

How to help: 

Donations of nonperishable food and other supplies can be dropped off at any Elkhart school until May 8. Students will deliver and unload food at the Food Bank of Elkhart County that day. 

Follow reporter Lydia Sheaks on Twitter at @LydiaSheaks


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