Pupils collect 2 tons of food to help the needy CENTRAL -- Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

January 29, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

With a hefty 2 tons of canned goods, West Middle School won first place in the Kids Helping Kids food drive.

The Westminster School collected 4,454 pounds of food -- more than any other school in the state -- for the county's hungry.

The three-week drive, sponsored by the state Department of Education and the Maryland Food Committee, began as a service project for the 17 students in Barbara Bankard's Extended Enrichment Program.

"They were willing and excited," she said. "They soon realized 17 was not enough and thought of ways to involve the whole school."

The students used classroom skills to plan and organize the event. They also flooded the school with posters and fliers, talked to each home room class, met with faculty and sent letters home.

Teacher Sharon Schuster gave them a lesson in publicity and helped them develop press releases.

"What made this such a success was the support of the school," said Ms. Bankard. "Many teachers offered their own incentives to classes."

One student canvassed her neighborhood until she filled a wagon with donations. Another set up a donation box at his church.

The resourcefulness worked. Canned goods filled hundreds of grocery bags, which Giant Food Store donated to the effort.

To bring the children into the plight of the needy, Ms. Bankard taught a food stamp lesson.

"They [students] found they didn't have enough money to buy the foods they really liked," she said.

The class also visited Carroll Food Sunday, which distributes food to the needy.

The children sorted the food collection and saw how the organization serves area families.

"The trip to the food bank really brought it all together for the kids," said their teacher. "They saw how worthwhile their work was and already want to do it again next year."

L West Middle School also won a VCR for the students' efforts.

"We didn't even know there were prizes," said Ms. Bankard. "Incentives are nice, but intrinsic motivation is better."

West Middle will be honored at the state Board of Education meeting Feb. 24 in Baltimore.

Carroll County Education Center's 68 students also won top honors with most pounds per student. They collected 437 pounds of food.

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