Elementary school food drive underway

Students at Herkimer Elementary School have been issued a challenge: Bring in one can of food each to donate to a local food bank.

It may not sound like much — but, as pre-kindergarten teacher Deb Schoff explained, all those little donations add up to make a big difference.

Schoff said the school has participated in the annual food drive for many years with the goal of not only helping local families, but teaching students a lesson about teamwork.

“It shows them their little part in something bigger, and what a difference one person can make,” Schoff said. “Your 75-cent can of beans becomes part of something bigger. That’s the goal — everyone working together to make a big impact. Alone, you may not be able to achieve that, but together, we can make a difference.”

In addition to the can drive, teachers are participating today in a “Dress Down Day,” fundraiser to collect cash donations for the Herkimer Mohawk food pantry.

The food drive kicked off Monday and will continue through Friday, March 31. While the goal has been set to collect 660 cans, students are encouraged to bring in more donations if they can, and the two classes that bring in the most cans will be treated to ice cream.

“They talk back and forth to each other, and they keep an eye on who has brought in the most,” Schoff explained. “It makes them a little bit competitive — they want to win!”

There is another incentive at work, Schoff said; if the school meets its goal of 660 cans, the Herkimer County Hunger Coalition has pledged to donate $100 into the account of the Herkimer Mohawk food pantry at the Food Bank of Central New York.

“For every dollar donated, that can generate $5 to $6 worth of food orders for the (local) food bank,” Herkimer County Hunger Coalition founder Ray Lenarcic explained.

“It all adds up,” Schoff added. “If we raise $100 on Dress Down Day, and donate 660 cans, and we get the $100 donation — it adds up to a lot.”