For two weeks earlier this month, a canned food drive was conducted at Seymour Middle School.
Organized by the school’s class officers, 5,572 items were collected for Community Provisions of Jackson County Inc. in Seymour.
SMS teacher and student government adviser Jamey Doriot considered the food drive a great success.
“We collected items by teams, and whichever team brought in the most items earned a dodgeball tournament reward,” Doriot said. “Students were allowed to donate any type of nonperishable items.”
She said SMS has seven teams, so there was a teacher from each team designated as a representative, and food donations were stored in those teachers’ classrooms.
At the end of the food drive, all of the items were brought down to two rooms to have most of it together.
The two top teams were Legacy, which brought in 2,824 items, and Infinity with 1,924 items.
“My class officers and I chose to lead this service project because we understand there is a great need in our community,” Doriot said. “There are many struggling families who utilize Provisions to help them meet their basic needs, especially during COVID times. This is our small way of helping out our community.”
Doriot said she likes to teach her class officers the importance of service and helping others in need. Whether that be big or small, anything counts. The canned food drive is an example of one way to help others.
“I am so excited about the response of our students and how many were willing to contribute to the cause,” she said. “We are teaching our students to look beyond themselves and find ways to help others around them.”
Seventh-graders Taylor Lowe, Cohl Moore and Adalynn Gebhart are all on Team Infinity and brought in large donations.
Lowe donated 233 food items, and Moore and Gebhart each brought in 128 items.
“I brought in so many cans because there are many people in our community who need help with food and other things,” Lowe said.
She said it’s a good thing to donate because you are helping a lot of people. She also thought it would be fun for their team to win a dodgeball tournament.
Moore said he participated in the food drive to help people.
“People are going through a tough time, especially with this pandemic going on,” he said. “The cans help out the people in need, and there are benefits for donating, as well. I like to help people out when they need it.”
Gebhart said she really thinks helping people in the community is important and should be done if possible.
Eighth grade class officer Alana Jacobi said it felt really great to help out the community.
“I was glad I could be a part of it,” she said.
Delaney Warren is a seventh-grader at Seymour Middle School and is the granddaughter of Chuck and Phyllis Seybold, co-directors of Community Provisions.
“I know a lot of people who are in need of food and don’t have anything, and any food we collect for them would be amazing,” Warren said. “I’m really glad we did this because I know some people personally who suffer from this, and lots of people go to Provisions.”
Phyllis said it was phenomenal that the middle school students collected more than 5,000 food items for the pantry.
Teacher Andy Wilson is on Team Legacy, the winning team in the food drive competition.
He said his team went around singing “We Are the Champions” when they found out they had won.
“At the start of each class, I had the spreadsheet up that showed where we were at and how we were doing,” Wilson said. “The three things I wanted to do were give to the people in need, play dodgeball and win. We all like to win.”
Community Provisions volunteers Scott Trueblood and Steve Cox were at the middle school March 17 with the pantry’s van to help load up the food collection.
Chuck Seybold said it was magnificent to have a van full of food.
“Andy said one parent brought in 900 cans of food the last hour of the food drive,” Seybold said. “I have nothing but solid praise for all of the students and parents.”
Community Provisions is at 107 W. Bruce St., Seymour, and is open from 10:30 a.m. to 1:50 p.m. Tuesdays for Jackson County residents.