Schools giving back in spirit of the holidays
by Megan Thornton
mthornton@cherokeetribune.com
November 16, 2012 12:23 AM | 2744 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Johnston Elementary School Student Council sponsored a food drive to help needy families. The food collected was used to fill Thanksgiving baskets. The leftover items are donated to MUST Ministries. School Counselor Tina Word and students Kristin Akridge, Emily Lindberg, Tyler Gragg and Matthew Broomhall sort donations.
The Johnston Elementary School Student Council sponsored a food drive to help needy families. The food collected was used to fill Thanksgiving baskets. The leftover items are donated to MUST Ministries. School Counselor Tina Word and students Kristin Akridge, Emily Lindberg, Tyler Gragg and Matthew Broomhall sort donations.
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CANTON — Whether it’s helping people within the school, the community at large or someone far away, Cherokee County schools are working hard to give back this Thanksgiving.

To help those displaced by Hurricane Sandy, the recent storm that devastated parts of the mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States, several local schools gathered needed items and are in the process of sending them to the hurricane victims.

At Creekland Middle School, students on the FCA leadership team made flyers, speeches and announcements asking fellow students to bring in money for the American Red Cross, the national nonprofit supporting many of the people who are homeless or in need because of Hurricane Sandy.

Macedonia Elementary School also helped families affected by Hurricane Sandy by raising money for the American Red Cross. Students made a donation of $1 or more in order to wear pajamas to school on Friday, with total collections of $695.

“The response from the students was truly amazing,” said FCA Sponsor Brandy Phillips. “Students came into school carrying not only dollar bills, but entire change collections to donate.”

Freedom Middle School students in Beta Club also participated in a penny war that raised $250 for hurricane victims and Sixes Elementary School students are collecting school supplies for Francis X. Hegarty Elementary School in Island Park, New York that was destroyed in the storm.

Principal Doug Knott said Ball Ground Elementary School STEM Academy is about to kick off a toy and sports equipment drive with Kids Serve Kids for the children of New Jersey and New York.

Elsewhere, Cherokee students have not forgotten the soldiers who are stationed overseas during Thanksgiving and are making sure military servicemen and women know how thankful they are.

At Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy, students wrote letters to the troops for Q100 Atlanta’s “Big Thank You” initiative that will deliver a letter to every soldier stationed overseas during the holidays.

To support soldiers in the Middle East, Cherokee Christian School third-graders are collecting items to put in care packages.

Locally, many schools looking to support nearby charities are focusing their giving to MUST Ministries, which serves families in Cherokee and Cobb counties.

Students at Canton Elementary School STEM Academy participated in the school’s fifth annual canned food drive where students competed to donate the most cans to win prizes.

“The prizes will include Legos and STEM related items,” said Principal Gwen Lince. “This year, the students, teachers and staff collected almost 20 boxes of food. Congratulations Canton Colts!”

Both Teasley Middle School and Chapman Intermediate School’s Beta Club students sponsored a hat day, with Teasley students collecting 800 cans of food for MUST Ministries by participating in a donation-based hat day.

Matthew May, River Ridge High School social studies teacher, said the school’s Beta Club is also collecting canned goods for a competition.

“Last year, River Ridge High School was able to donate over 4,000 items,” May said.

At Sixes, members of the PTA are selling “thankful leaves” for students to write what they are thankful for with all donations going back to MUST Ministries.

“The PTA has created a beautiful tree in our cafeteria on which the leaves are hung and turned it into a bit of a competition by having each branch represent one grade level,” said Secretary Vicki Ross.

In another local initiative, Clayton Elementary School has partnered with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office to provide about 200 meals for Cherokee families over the last four years and has collected more than 385 items this year alone.

Additionally, some schools are focusing giving back to the families of their own students, including the 50 Oak Grove Elementary School families who will receive Thanksgiving food boxes.

The Johnston Elementary School Student Council sponsored a food drive to help needy families within the school. The food collected was used to fill Thanksgiving baskets, with leftovers donated to MUST Ministries.

Free Home Elementary Principal Karen Carl said her school’s annual giving has become a Thanksgiving tradition.

“The principal, teachers, and parents met and discussed how we can help our families in need, so after great thought and discussion, we created the Rocket Pantry,” Carl said.

For the past three weeks, parent volunteers have gone to the in-school food pantry, which contains food donated by community members and staff members, and packed backpacks with food to send home with children.

Carl said some of those students may not have another meal during the weekend.

“We will continue this as along as the families need it,” Carl said. “The really great thing is that some of the community members are students from Creekview (High School.)”

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