Ohio Valley Schools Gather Food For Families In Need

Photo by Alan Olson Center McMechen Elementary School teacher Stacey Hooper and students, clockwise from front left, Octavian Whipkey, Markus Stasel, Caleb Henderson, Isaac Renzella and Ezra Pollus, pose with some of the food items the students collected for distribution to those in need for Thanksgiving.

Students at several area schools have been busy gathering food and funds to help ensure everyone can have a proper meal this Thanksgiving.

The Center McMechen Elementary School boys’ club had assembled a container of ingredients for donation by Tuesday morning, which they intend to donate either to local families or to children in need.

“We kind of put this together because it’s Thanksgiving, and we noticed there were a few families that were in need,” said student Isaac Renzella. “We started a fundraiser and sent notes home to our parents saying that we would like to go to the grocery store and buy Thanksgiving foods, to help families and foster homes in need.

“The best thing about this project wasn’t the buying or spending money, it was that I’ve always wanted to help people in need, and these people who can’t have a Thanksgiving, why not help them have one?” he added.

Student Ezra Pollus said the idea came up on a whim during a club meeting, and the decision was made to help the local families have a good holiday season when they otherwise might not get that option.

“We were in the middle of club, and we realized it’s getting close to the holidays. Why not pack up some food, give it to families in need, and hopefully they’ll have a good Thanksgiving.”

Special education teacher Stacey Hooper said the fundraiser and subsequent care package was done as a service project on behalf of the club.

Moundsville Middle School also conducted a “Helping Hands” project last week for American Education Week, which provided food baskets and gifts for McMechen students whose families were affected by flash flooding which devastated parts of the city this summer. The school raised almost $592, which the Leo Club matched for a total of more than $1,180 for the project.

Additionally, Moundsville’s Central Elementary School also held a food drive, the proceeds of which will be going to the Salvation Army this holiday season.

“We leave it up to (the student council) to decide their project, and they decided to have a canned food drive,” said counselor Jenna Dompa. “We got several boxes up on the stage, and it’s all gone rather well. … The students get out and collect the cans, I just basically make the calls to who the boxes are going to.”

In Ohio County, students and staff at Bridge Street Middle School recently teamed up for a Thanksgiving food drive. Principal Joe Kolb said with the help of a grant from Wal-Mart, the school assembled food bags that were distributed to 30 students in need on Tuesday.