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SCHOOLS, STUDENTS, STAFF GIVING BACK FOR THANKSGIVING
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (NOVEMBER 23, 2021) – Throughout the schools, students and staff are helping others have a happy Thanksgiving.
According to education officials, seemingly record numbers of food donations have been streaming into the district’s schools. For example, Gaudet Middle School collected more than 2,000 canned goods and Aquidneck Elementary School was featured in a recent WJAR television report for collecting more than 1,500 items to be given to the Dr. Martin Luther King Community Center in Newport.
At Forest Avenue Elementary School across Town, Principal Lisa Birkett said a new food pantry was created so families at the school could pick out what they’d like.
“We asked each grade level to bring in a different ‘meal,’” Birkett said. “Kindergarten had breakfast, first grade had lunch, second grade had dinner and third grade had snacks. We ran the food drive for two weeks.”
The class that collected the most items won a kickball game with Birkett as a prize. The class of second grade teacher Christina Logothets took those honors.
“We sent out a notice, letting families know that our food collection was going to stay ‘in house’ for our own families,” Birkett said. “We immediately got responses from families for requests for food. We are thinking about opening the pantry up on Tuesdays after the beginning of the year so families can come ‘shop.’ We are still working out the details of that. We have had teachers donate can openers as well.”
She noted that teachers RuthLynn Butler, Erin Doorley Forman and Christa Robinson have been outstanding organizing the campaign for the school.
“We have families asking for food, not for the holiday, but for day-to-day needs,” Birkett said. “We are going to be creating a ‘menu’ of what we have. Some families only have a microwave or don' t have milk and butter to make mac and cheese. There are a lot of things to consider when giving food out and we’re doing everything we can to help here at Forest Avenue and I know the story is the same at the other schools too.”
At Gaudet, Principal William Niemeyer said food drives are another way the middle school attempts to educate students about their role in the community.
“Gaudet Middle School collected over 2,500 canned goods to donate to needy families,” Niemeyer said. “The food drive has shown that as Islanders, we recognize a need in our community, and we are willing to rally together to support those who need help.”
At the Gaudet Learning Academy (GLA), Principal Rebecca Silveira agreed.
“GLA had a very successful food drive,” Silveira said. “In the fourth and fifth grades, we collected over 1,150 items to benefit families in need. We have a great food pantry established.”
It was no different at Middletown High, according to Principal Dr. Jeff Heath.
"What I really appreciate most about our food drive here at MHS is how students oversee the promotion, collection and distribution effort," Heath said. "It's really great to see our students so excited about helping the community and putting the needs of others first. It's truly amazing how our PK-12 community actively looks for opportunities to lift up others and it makes me proud to be an Islander."