Local food pantries received a boost last week, thanks to the Herkimer County Hunger Coalition’s March food drive conducted with the help of local elementary school children.
Students at Frankfort-Schuyler Elementary School, Fisher Elementary School in Mohawk, Benton Hall Academy in Little Falls, Herkimer Elementary School and St. Francis de Sales Regional Catholic School in Herkimer collected items such as canned soups, fruits and vegetables, pasta and macaroni and cheese for the Frankfort-Ilion, Mohawk-Herkimer, Kuyahoora, Little Falls- Dolgeville and Van Hornesville food pantries, along with the Shepherd’s Table hot lunch program offered at the Herkimer Reformed Church.
The food collected was brought to the parking lot at Herkimer Elementary School Thursday afternoon and distributed to food pantry representatives who arrived to pick it up.
Herkimer Elementary School student representatives waited inside the school to present the 541 cans of food they had collected.
Elementary school teacher Debbie Schoff, who coordinated the food collection at the school, said the March food drive fit in with the school’s character education program. “We’re a bucket-filling school,” she said.
The buckets are imaginary, explained fifth grader Katelyn Lowell, adding the students fill each other’s buckets by the way the treat each other. “Even if it’s somebody you don’t like, you try to be nice to them,” she said, adding this is a year-round activity at the school.
In this case, though, instead of filling an imaginary bucket, students filled real buckets with canned goods for the food pantry, according to Sarah Eastwood.
“We got to help out people in our community,” said Leah Basel.
“We all feel like winners because we worked together,” added Kurstin Gay.
Students from the second and fifth grades were chosen to represent the school in presenting the donations to the hunger coalition and the food pantry representatives.
“The fifth and second graders filled their buckets the fastest,” said Schoff.
This year’s March food drive was conducted in honor of Army SSgt. Marc Anthony Scialdo, a Herkimer native who died recently in Afghanistan, according to Ray Lenarcic, of the Herkimer County Hunger Coalition. He added from now on the March food drive would be named in Scialdo’s honor.
“The coalition would like to thank all those involved with the drive, especially the students and coordinators,” said Lenarcic. “They’ve once again demonstrated that they can make a difference in the quality of life of people in our communities.”
He added each participating school would receive a Fallen Star Memorial certificate.