2017-12-07 / Living

Elms Road kids take the lead in annual food drive

810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

Fourth-graders in Jeremy Love’s class collected the most canned goods and received sundaes and a movie for their efforts. 
Courtesy photos Fourth-graders in Jeremy Love’s class collected the most canned goods and received sundaes and a movie for their efforts. Courtesy photos SWARTZ CREEK – Students at Elms Road Elementary School took charge of the annual food drive this year, and the result was astounding.

The 436 youngsters who attend Elms Road – a “Leader In Me” school – collected more than 2,000 canned goods, boxed goods and other items, exceeding their all-time best for collecting food to help feed the hungry in the Swartz Creek community.

“It made me proud,” said teacher Jeremy Love, whose 4th grade class accounted for 504 items, the most collected in any Elms Road classroom. “It makes you realize there’s still so much good in this world. These kids have giving hearts.”

This year, teachers put the two-week food drive in the hands of the Student Lighthouse Team.

“The team is a twist on Student Council,” said Love, who oversees the team with fellow teacher Jamie Patterson. “It puts a kid spin on school initiatives.”

The team set up subcommittees for advertising, announcements, flyers, food collection and thank you notes.

“They ran with it,” said Love. “They went to town.”

Fourth-grader Ava Brown said the project was “really fun.”

“I was proud to help create a flyer that the whole entire school got to see,” she said. “It was only a couple dollars I spent and it bought a lot of food to help a lot of people. It made my heart happy that other people got food and got to be happy.”

This year’s food drive included a little classroom competition: the class that collected the most donations received sundaes and a movie.

“We told them there would be a surprise, but I feel that they didn’t do it for that; they did it because they’re good kids,” said Love, whose 30 students won the competition and chose to watch “Home Alone.” “Every day they brought in gobs of cans.”

As part of the Leader in Me program, teachers and other school staff promote seven habits of successful leaders. Among them is “sharpening the saw,” which includes taking care of one’s self and others.

“We talk about the importance of giving and providing for others who may be on hard times,” said Love.

“I think that it’s good to help our community,” said Madeline Hall, a fourth-grader. “Seeing my classmates bringing in so much made me feel that this is a class full of leaders.”

Other top classes were MaDonna Kelley’s kindergarteners, 403 cans; Kevin West’s fifth-graders, 331; Jamie Patterson’s fifth-graders, 275; and Sandi McDonald’s fourth-grade class, 108.

“It took a lot of work to separate stuff,” said fifth-grader Kaleb Doyle, a Student Lighthouse Team member. “Sometimes there was a lot of food and we had to synergize.”

“It was really fun working with my crew,” added Taryn Brown, a fifth-grader who also serves on the team. “We are proud of all of the classes who donated.”

The food was donated to the Swartz Creek Food Pantry at the United Methodist Church of Swartz Creek, and First Baptist Church.

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