Edwardsburg students contribute to local food pantry

EDWARDSBURG — Last Friday morning, the Edwardsburg High School student council could be found stacking, stuffing and heaving boxes of canned goods and non-perishable food items. Some 16,439 canned and boxed items were collected by first hour classrooms at Edwardsburg High School and brought to the Edwardsburg Food Pantry, located at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church for the annual holiday food drive.

Stan Mason of the Edwardsburg Food Pantry estimated the students had far surpassed the previous years’ donations for the drive.

“It’s been a major improvement to where we were three years ago. I would say from three or four years ago, we’re probably double, approximately, from where we were,” Mason said.

The student council, comprised of about 40 students, were primarily there to organize the school’s contribution into specific food items. On Sunday, about 50 volunteers came to take items from each category and prep them into bags that were distributed the following Monday at 1 p.m. From year to year, the contributions of the pre-Thanksgiving holiday food drive will carry the food pantry’s distribution through Christmas into January.

Student council president, and class president, Cassidy Martenson noted how important it is for the whole of the student body, as well as the student council, to be involved with the food drive.

“With student council’s help we can get the entire community involved and spread the word a lot faster,” Martenson said. “Student council has become a family. We really bond over these events.”

Mathematics teacher Sean Jesse has been a student council advisor at Edwardsburg for seven years, and believes participation as a student body and student government is integral for the character growth of youth.

“I honestly believe a life lived for others is a life worthwhile, so we try to instill that into the kids,” Jesse said. “[The students] start to realize they can legitimately have an impact on their surroundings, on the people they work with and the people they live with.”

Contribution to the Edwardsburg Food Pantry holiday food drive has been more than an effort by the students, however. Six churches aside from Our Lady of the Lake contribute to the food pantry, as well as several other community organizations, families and individuals, according to Mason. The Meijer on Grape Road in Mishawaka contributed turkeys, pies and other food items for the drive as well.

“I can’t even begin to list all of the organizations that have supported it,” said Pastor Scott Scheel, president of the Edwardsburg Food Pantry.

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