Southern Local Schools Helping Pantry

Students and faculty are reaching out to support the Southern Community Center’s food pantry this holiday with a little friendly competition among classes.


   The Touchdown Club Football Boosters coordinated a Battle of the Classes food drive to entice students to contribute non-perishable items to stock the pantry and feed local needy families. Club trustee Kelly Malone said the food drive began after Thanksgiving break and concluded Dec. 19 with 1,324 items gathered, while the goal was to engage students and give back to the community.


   “We had the food pantry open up and a lot of organizations were challenging each other,” she said. “The girls’ basketball team challenged the boys’ basketball team, and that team challenged the wrestlers who then challenged the band. We had already decided to do a Battle of the Classes to see who can bring in the most items. We got a list from [center director Scott Hart] on what was needed and every Friday the Touchdown Club collects them and delivers them to the pantry.”


   The buildings have been divided into grades PreK-6 and 7-12 and the top collecting classes will receive a pizza party as a reward in January.


   “We thought it would be something nice to do to get kids involved in a way to give back,” Malone added. “It goes to the Southern Community Center of Salineville and they were able to give 100 meals for Thanksgiving. We hoped to give enough for at least 100 meals for Christmas.”


   Meanwhile, Hart was grateful for the assistance, saying the site just opened this month at 34 Washington St. next to the Salineville Volunteer Fire Department. Since then, it has been stocking shelves to fill a growing need.


   “I think it’s great. The faculty members volunteered at the last distribution and also made donations,” Hart said. 


    The next distribution was set for Dec. 21 for the holidays, but it is normally held the fourth Saturday of the month. He said the number of people assisted has grown over the past few months from 85 households to 118, while he expects it to rise even further this month. Turkeys have been provided through local churches while Southern Local Schools has given non-perishable goods. Malone said classes and groups have provided potatoes, stuffing, sugar, flour to cake mix and organizers hope are to continue the program each year.


   “We hope to do this as an annual event,” she noted. “It helps all of our kids realize the importance of giving. I want to thank everybody for their support.”