On Thursday morning, dozens of elementary students and community partners gathered to sort donated food for veterans in need.
“My two 4th grade classrooms collected food for the veterans. We collected nearly 3,000 food items over a period of six weeks,” said Jennifer Morgan, fourth grade teacher.
Portsmouth West Elementary, Pre-school through 5th grade, came together with donations which were collected and sorted by Mrs. Morgan’s 4th grade classes.
“My two classes gathered the food each week, and then we went and sorted the food and packed it into individual bags for the veterans,” said Morgan.
Each bag was filled with a variety of food items for veterans in need.
“We had things like vegetables, fruits, sweets, spaghetti, sauce, canned meats, and bread in the bags. We were able to sort the collected items into 300 bags, which will be given to 150 veterans in need with 2 bags for each.”
The donation efforts were part of Operation Thank You, led by Co-Chairwomen Gina Collinsworth and Libby Brisker. The operation will be distributing the bags of food to veterans.
“We have drivers that have volunteered to drive to each veteran’s home and drop off their food,” said Brisker.
The annual food drive was started five years ago through RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) and Compass Community Health, and has been carried on by Collinsworth and Brisker who first started the drive.
“It is just an honor for us to be able to give back to our Veterans who just need a little help around this time of year. We are very grateful for their service and thankful to all the people who have donated and helped this program to continue,” said Brisker.
Among the kids who helped to sort through the donations was 4th grader Sydney Kammer.
“I feel grateful that we get to help out. I do Operation Christmas Child every year, it feels good to help,” said Kammer.
According to Mrs. Morgan, the kids have enjoyed the collection process and have been eager to help those in need.
“I like helping the veterans, some of them need help. I like being able to give them some food, or something. Giving someone food makes me feel like I changed the world. I go to Cornerstone church and we do Hopefest, we washed people’s feet and gave them new socks and we had a little festival, it’s great to give back,” said Cristian Quirasu.
The students all lended a helping hand, but some went above and beyond to make a difference.
One special student took it upon himself to donate his candy collected at Trick-or-Treat to the Veterans, placing one piece of candy in each bag.
“I feel good about helping out. It’s very fulfilling. I put the candy in the bags, I think they need it more than I do,” said the student.
The boy said he was inspired to donate his candy because his papaw, too, was a veteran.
“The kids are so grateful for the opportunity, they also wrote letters to the veterans and they were placed in the bags,” said Morgan.
Amongst the kids who collected where many adults and teachers who worked hard to bring in donations. The grandparents of Mrs. Roberts, who is a teacher at Portsmouth West Elementary, alone donated 518 canned food items to her classroom to help veterans.
“I want to make sure our veterans in Scioto County know that we will never forget their service. We feel like getting the kids involved in a cause like this at an early age will make them aware of how they can make a difference in the world, and our local community,” said Gina Collinsworth, Co-Chairwoman of Operation Thank You.
Many community businesses and organizations have partnered with OTY to make the donations possible. American Legion James Dickey Post 23, Compass Community Health, CareSource, RSVP, COAD, United States Daughters of 1812 Scioto Valley Volunteers Chapter, Scioto County Foster Grandparents, Scioto VA Services, 4-H Teen Leaders, Fuhrman’s Orchards, Scioto County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and The Potter’s House have all made these food bags possible.
Additionally, Special Proclamations from Governor Kasich will be presented to the WWII Veterans by Kathleen Young SE Liaison for Governor Kasich.
Reach: Ivy Potter (740) 353-3101 Extension 1932