Students from Sunrise Elementary load 4,000 pounds of food they collected for the Cache Food Pantry on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021.
SMITHFIELD – It was a better Thanksgiving for many families in the area most likely because of the generosity of students and their families in Cache Valley.
Matt Whitaker, executive director of the Cache Food Pantry, said Cache County School District donated 33,000 pounds of food from their food drives to the pantry.
Dr. Steve Norton, the superintendent of Cache School District, is on the board of directors of the food pantry and Whitaker asked him if he would support food collection in the schools.
“It was easy. I asked Steve if his schools would hold food drives for us this year,” Whitaker said. “They had food drives in the past but COVID put a stop to them.”
Norton agreed to help.
The county schools on the north end of Cache County seemed to grasp the need and were more aggressive in their approach to collecting food.
Sky View High School collected and donated a school record of 12,944 cans of food which doubled their goal and was the most donated in their school history.
Matt Sadler, who is oversees the Sky View Student Council, said the food drive was held Nov. 15 to the 19.
“Emmy Karren, a Student Exec service member, headed up the effort,” he said. “The students and parents were very generous.”
Karren said they had been planning the food drive for a month before they started it.
“Most of the food came on Thursday and Friday of that week,” she said. “We promoted the food drive in each class and they came up with an incentive.”
For instance, the Sophomore Class came up with a incentive to dress up in a costume, she said.
“Some teachers helped by giving students extra credit by bringing cans of food,” Karren said. “We said we would dye our hair if we got the most donations.”
She said they would have their hair dyed for the assembly before Christmas break.
“We did a lot of planning and this year we tried to push it as much as much as we could,” she said. “We felt like with COVID the pantry needed food this year.”
They made a flyer to promote the food drive and passed them out all over school.
“We are so beyond thankful for everything the Sky View faculty and especially what the student body has done,” Karren said.” This will help countless families this holiday season.”
The school record contribution shows how much Sky View students really care about our community, she added.
“It’s a great day to be a Bobcat,” she said.
Summit Elementary School, also in Smithfield, also donated a bunch of food to the Cache Food Pantry. They donated approximately 4,000 pounds of food.
Summit Elementary School Principal Derek Beer said the students and parents are generally quite generous this time of year.
“We appreciate their donations and know it will go along way to helping the food bank,” he said.
Cache Food Pantry serves about 800 families and 25 other agencies in four counties, including Cache Employment and Training, CAPSA, Common Ground and other food pantries in adjacent counties.