‘Feeling the weight of their donations’: WES food drive

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 7:30am

Fifth grader Liam Moore, 10, brought in two cans of cranberry sauce and a box of lemon spice tea to Wiscasset Elementary School’s Thanksgiving food drive.

“I think it’s really good that people get the food that they need and not go hungry on Thanksgiving,” Moore said about the drive Partners in Education (PIE) led again this year. 

PIE Chair Angela Eddy said the drive met the group’s goal to collect enough food to fill 10 to 15 baskets. “So that was a good amount for a school our size.” In a phone interview and email, Eddy said PIE is all about giving back and supporting students. “There is a great need in our community ... This food drive is a great way to support the students and families in need and also show the students the importance of giving back,” she added.

Teachers Dane Dwyer and Justin Stygles walked their fifth graders to Help Yourself Shelf (HYS) food pantry at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church on Hodge Street Monday, Nov. 25 to deliver the goods. “It’s just nice to see how kids are learning to help out in their community, especially at this time of year, where we’re fortunate to have a lot of food and be able to give that to people who would appreciate something warm and delightful at their own table,” Stygles said.

“I think it’s really great that the school did this, because there’s a lot of people that don’t have the money to afford this type of stuff (so) it’s really generous,” Addy Eckert, 10, said. 

Due to work, Eddy couldn’t join the classes on the walk. But, she said, with potatoes among the items collected, she knew the students would “definitely be feeling the weight of their donations.”

St. Philip’s members and HYS volunteers Gretchen Burleigh-Johnson and Sharman Ballantine helped students place the items by category. Labels taped onto tables inside the church included cereal, drinks, protein, sweets, soups, snacks, stuffing, vegetables and one for rice and pasta.

Asked about the school’s donations, Ballantine said the items showed students got the importance of vegetables. And she and Burleigh-Johnson were pleased about the tea. People don’t tend to think of giving it and it’s nice for the pantry’s users to have besides the staples, they said. How were they feeling after the school’s delivery, and one minutes earlier by Chewonki Foundation’s school?

“Blessed,” Burleigh-Johnson said. 

She and Ballantine said any donations left after Thanksgiving week would remain for pantry users to take another time.

After sometimes heavy rain one day earlier, the classes got sun for their walk. Smiling, Stygles said: “As long as it’s not windy or raining, it’s a beautiful thing.”

“Or snowing,” Moore said.

To donate funds or food anytime to HYS, leave a message at 882-7544.