DMS collects more than 600 items in food drive

DOWAGIAC — Selected Dowagiac families will be having a merrier Christmas than they otherwise could have, thanks to efforts by Dowagiac Middle School students to give back to the community.

Dowagiac Middle School recently completed its annual holiday food drive. The drive challenged students to collect non-perishable food items to donate to local families identified by school officials as needing donations. The class that collected the most items — this year being teacher Kim Deering’s seventh hour class — won a pizza party. In total, students collected more than 600 items. The food drive was organized by Kelly Cromer and Lisa Carter, with the help of the Dowagiac Middle School student council.

“This is an annual event that really helps families in our community,” Carter said.

The food items collected by students were delivered late last week to 10 in-need families in the Dowagiac area. In addition to the items collected by students, Carter said local farmers donated fresh produce while organizations such as Zeta Chi donated funds to help purchase other items for the families chosen.

“We try to identify families that can use extra groceries that will help them pay an extra bill or something with the money they would have spent on these groceries,” she said. “We give them weeks’ worth of groceries.”

Both Carter and Cromer said they thought the food drive not only benefited the families receiving the donations, but also the students who participated in the drive.

“This makes them aware that there are families in need,” Carter said. “It helps them see that there are families even within our community that need this kind of help.”

Cromer agreed with Carter’s sentiments.

“It’s important for students to do this, because they can help the community,” Cromer said. “They can help members of the community and understand that there is a need.”

Caleigh Wimberley and Piper Ruff, eighth-grade student council students who participated in the food drive, said they did feel that the food drive benefited them, adding that they were happy to give back to local families during the holiday season.

“It feels good to give back,” Ruff said.

Wimberley added that she is happy to know that even as a student, she can help the community.

“A lot of people don’t realize how fortunate they are and that there are families out there that don’t have the basic things we do,” she said. “You don’t realize what you have until you see what they don’t have and how hard that is. … [The food drive] might just be a little thing, but it can make an impact.”

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