The Telegram
  • Benton Hall students to promote hunger awareness

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  • Benton Hall Academy students will dress in orange Friday to bring attention to hunger in their community.
    Students will also make a donation to the Little Falls Food Pantry and collect nonperishable food items for the month of October.
    “Kids can bring in a nickel, a dime, a quarter, 50 cents, whatever, and donate it to the Little Falls Food Pantry,” said Benton Hall Academy Principal Joe Long.
    Each $1 donation made to the Little Falls Food Pantry account at the Food Bank of Central New York will generate about $8 worth of food at the Food Bank.
    Long also said students will walk around Eastern Park on Friday.
    “The walk is to show all the kids that we’re supporting the fight against hunger; a visual demonstration,” said Long during a telephone interview on Wednesday.
    The project, spearheaded by the Herkimer County Hunger Coalition, is dedicated to the memory of fallen star Staff Sgt. Michael Ollis, 24, of Staten Island, who was killed in Afghanistan in August.
    Long said coalition members approached the school about doing something for hunger awareness. He said Lisa Rice, a second-grade teacher at the school, led the way with the project.
    “She took this and sent home notes to the families to tell them what we’re doing,” said Long. “Hopefully everyone will participate. We like to get involved with these service events.”
    Also, the coalition will give out orange stickers with the following words, “Herkimer County Hunger Coalition Cadet,” to students at Benton Hall who participate in various coalition projects.
    Also on Friday, the coalition will distribute its Fire Prevention Roscoe and Herbie Half and Half Coloring Books to Benton Hall Academy second graders, in memory of the six McLeod children of Little Falls, who died in a 1991 fire.
    The coalition also announced earlier this week its plans for Operation Candy Cane 5.
    “This year, we’ve adopted a platoon from the 10th Mountain Division, which will be deploying in Afghanistan,” said Ron Schoonmaker in a news release.
    The platoon, Golf Company 710 BSB (4-25 FA) out of Fort Drum, is in charge of the refueling point for wheeled vehicles and forward point helicopters.
    “We’re asking students in participating schools to make Christmas cards for the soldiers,” said Schoonmaker.
    Also, each school will be assigned an item of clothing for its students to collect, which will include hats and mittens for Afghan children.
    The drive will go on for the month of November.
    Participating schools include Benton Hall Academy, Herkimer Elementary School and Frankfort-Schuyler Elementary School.
    Laura Hailston, who is co-chairing the operation with Schoonmaker, said the drive is just for November, but the coalition will care for the platoon for the whole year by providing them with the everyday supplies they need.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It could be anything,” said Schoonmaker, who said they are going to stay in contact with the platoon’s chaplain to be aware of their needs.
    Hailston said they will take monetary donations to offset shipping costs for the platoon, but said they won’t be accepting clothing from the public.
    Previous operations have benefited troops in Kabul and Fort Drum, along with Afghan children and involved participation from the community and area elementary schools. Last year, Country Manor and Folts Homes honored its veterans with plaques.
    The coalition also announced its Seventh Annual Benefit Golf Tournament on Sept. 28 at the Little Falls Municipal Golf Course raised $3,000. This will go toward the purchase of winter coats and snow pants for children in need at Benton Hall Academy. The tournament was in memory of fallen star Maj. Jaimie Leonard, of Warwick, who was killed in Afghanistan on June 8.
    David Petkovsek, event coordinator, thanked Owen McDonald and Kira Andrilla for their help with the event and all the sponsors, donors and golfers.
    “Collectively, they have guaranteed that a lot of our kids will be walking to school this winter in warm, quality coats,” said Petkovsek in a news release.
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