It wasn’t a ton of food, but it was close with 1,820 pounds of canned goods.
Students and staff from Cedar River Elementary School gathered at the Cedar Lodge in Maple Valley to be presented the Golden Can Award from the Maple Valley Food Bank and Emergency Services on May 16 after donating the most pounds of food per student in the school district.
According to Sigurros Welborn, program and volunteer coordinator at the food bank, each year the Tahoma School District does a district wide food drive to benefit the food bank.
“They collect for two weeks usually in the month of March,” Welborn said. :After the two weeks, we go and pick up from each school and we weigh how much each school has collected.”
This was the first year the food bank handed out an award to the school that gathered the most amount of nonperishable food items.
The winning schools are based on each school’s count. Some schools have more students than others, so the food bank based the winner off how many pounds of food per student was collected.
Principal of Cedar River Elementary Fritz Gere said he was a little surprised his school won the Golden Can Award, because Cedar River Elementary is one of the smaller schools in the district.
Dean of Students Tina McDaniel wasn’t surprised they won because in the past Cedar River has been a very giving school.
“Last year, we raised almost 2,000 pounds of food in January,” McDaniel said. “I feel like our students are very giving.”
This year, the school raised 1,820 pounds of food for the food bank in just two weeks. In total, the district raised over 14,000 pounds of food, according to a Facebook post from the district.
McDaniel gave all the credit for the food drive to the student council. She said they took over and really encouraged their fellow students to donate food for a good cause.
“Our student leaders start at first grade and they go through fifth grade and they really take ownership when we give them a task to carry it through and they’re eager to contribute,” she said. “I think that kind of just supports the fact that they really are leaders in our community and they really work hard to be community contributors.”
Welborn said they decided to hand out an award this year because they wanted to get the kids excited about helping the community.
So the food bank had a plaque made for the winner, and then certificates for the two runner up schools.
The two runner up schools this year were Shadow Lake Elementary and Lake Wilderness Elementary.
Having students participate in something like a food drive is important is important to Gere.
“I think it supports the future ready skill initiative that’s important to our school district. And specifically the one that Tina mentioned was ‘community contributor’ and it gives them a practical example of how they can contribute to the community,” he said.
The plan is to display the plaque in the main office where a lot of foot traffic is.