BY KAREN GERHARDINGER | MIRROR REPORTER — With 2,175 food items, Fallen Timbers Middle School (FTMS) won the competition, but the real winners were area families in need of food.
On February 19, members of the school’s Community Leadership Council (CLC) flooded the hallways of FTMS to grab boxes of canned and boxed foods donated over the prior week for Competition With a Cause.
“We told everyone to bring food and not let Perrysburg beat us,” said sixth-grader Caelyn McVicker, who along with CLC leaders Hayden Heller and Addie Komisarek, organized the drive.
The goal was to collect more food items than Hull Prairie Intermediate School in Perrysburg. Fallen Timbers collected 2,175 of the total 3,200 items donated – and won the “Golden Can” award.
The donations will go to Food for Thought, a nonprofit organization that feeds the hungry and food insecure in Northwest Ohio.
Feeding America estimates that 75,000 people in Lucas County – about 1 in 6 – are food insecure. For children, that jumps to 1 in 4.
“That’s unacceptable,” said Food for Thought associate director Caitlin Ballinger. “Food for Thought is small, but we’re doing our best to make a big impact. We served over 18,000 individuals in 2019 through our mobile pantry programs and more than 15,000 PB&J lunches are distributed each year.”
Food for Thought hosts nine mobile pantries in the area each month.
An operating budget of $200,000 is supplemented by food drives, area food banks and donations by grocers including Whole Foods and Walt Churchill’s Market, Ballinger said.
“Getting some staple items for free through these partners allows us to spend our efficient budget on fresh produce items, high-demand staples, maintaining our truck, trailer and pantry shelf system in a safe way, and compensating our small but mighty staff,” she said.
“Just $10.00 a month can help nourish Toledo in body and spirit. We believe that the hunger for not just food, but also for respect and belonging, can be met for all people. We’re committed to helping make that happen in the Toledo region,” she added.
While the families of students bought the food to donate, it was the CLC members who organized the drive, said counselor Jennifer Minni. They advertised, collected, sorted and wrote thank-you cards
“The teachers presented content to their classrooms to enhance empathy and knowledge of the social issues pertaining to hunger,” Minni added.
On the final day, CLC members headed to Hull Prairie Intermediate to mingle with that school’s leadership team, ask each other questions and hear more about Food for Thought.
For information, visit www.feedtoledo.org.