Students garner food pantry donations at schools, grocery store
Photo courtesy of Laura Harkey - McClure Elementary Student Council members sort 562 cans of fruit last Thursday on Make A Difference Day. Twelve other McKinney ISD schools joined McClure in collecting more than 7,000 canned foods for the Community Food Pantry of McKinney.
Impact has no age requirement. At least not when it comes to helping the needy.
Last week, 13 McKinney ISD schools collected more than 7,000 canned foods for Community Food Pantry of McKinney. They left a fruitful mark on the citywide Make A Difference Day, held last Thursday, and some did so beyond the classroom.
McClure Elementary Student Council (STUCO) members finished the week-long gathering at a nearby Albertsons, where they gained more than half of their school's 562 cans.
"Our goal this year was to get the whole community involved," said Krisi Stokan, student council sponsor. "We encouraged them to pick a couple of cans from their pantry and go ask their neighbors. Then we decided to go to the real big community."
Just in its third year in the community, McClure Elementary is already a sure contact for the food pantry, Stokan said. Schools "make a difference" with food drives, and this year several competed to collect the most.
McClure STUCO officers Kate Stockford, Justin Rodriguez and Xander Stevens did the heavy lifting - literally. They helped Stokan organize the collection - designing signs, posters and online ads - and set up in front of Albertsons for an hour-and-a-half Thursday after school.
As one stood at an Albertsons entrance, the others manned the second door next to a table and crates. Canned fruit was their desire, but they didn't turn any away. They traded customers' money donations for canned fruit from the backdrop grocery store.
"The pantry only wanted fruit, so that's what counted toward Make A Difference Day," Stokan said. "It's more expensive to buy, especially fresh fruit, so cans last longer."
Passers-by, contributors or not, applauded the students for a "good cause," she said, which further spurred the team of three. Rodriguez and Stevens, who had a football game right after, fired their competitive spirits at the store. They saw who could prompt the most donations. "I probably won because I got like two crates full myself," Rodriguez claimed.
Stevens may have fallen behind chasing another cause: an old lady who needed help getting her groceries to the car. Stockford stuck to the cans, and another STUCO member counted and sorted them before pantry volunteers picked them up.
"We were just being kind to give other kids and other people food they may not get," Stockford said. "That's why we collected so much."
Stevens and Rodriguez echoed their classmate's sentiment this week, all seemingly proud of their accomplishment and expanded role in it. "There are people starving out there, in the cold, so at least we can do something to help them a little," Stevens said.
About 30 third- through fifth-graders make up McClure STUCO, which does a school event or fundraiser every month. Money they raise in coming months will go toward the Special Olympics, at which members will help in May.
Though the officer trio recognized the importance of giving to the needy, they praised their "silly songs" as a key attraction to STUCO. Stokan knows their involvement means more than that, and announced their contributions on the morning announcements.
She knows how much kids can do, no matter the age.
"They really did work hard and understood what was going on," she said. "Our goal is to make them leaders in the classroom and community, and have that carry into middle school and high school."