1,600 pounds of food

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 9, 2003

The students, faculty and staff of Martin Middle School are proud that during the month of November they were able to accumulate an estimated 1,600 pounds of non-perishable food items. And Buddy Wiltse, executive director of the Selma Area Food Bank, is pleased as punch.

The venison is especially important this year, he said, because he had just received word from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a regular supplier, that there would be no turkey breasts available.

Wiltse and Curtis Shaw, who works on the food bank staff, were at the school, located in Valley Grande, Monday afternoon to load the cardboard boxes containing the food onto the food bank’s truck &045; the 13th pickup of 31 scheduled to be completed by Friday. Actually collections began last week.

Thirty-one is the number of city and county public schools and private schools that participated in the November drives which are so critical to filling the highly publicized gap between supply and demand at the food bank.

On hand was a teacher and a group of students who were gathered as representatives of the entire school community, nearly all of whom participated in the drive, according to Faye Rainey who teaches language arts at the school.

Rainey said that there was a positive competitive spirit among the classes, and that little incentives were offered along the way to increase participation, such as homework passes.

She said that her classes collected about 500 food items.

When she spoke of the favors, the gathered young people smiled approvingly.

Rainey sees participation in the food drive, which has been going on since the school opened, as offering positive benefits for the whole school community.

It enables the students to feel good that they have been able to help someone out, she said.

Wiltse echoed that sentiment as he walked toward the truck ready to receive the food items donated by Martin Middle schoolers. &uot;The youth deserve a lot of gratitude.