Community High Gives Back Through Food Gatherers Fundraiser
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After a morning of food, stories and games came to an end, Community students made their way across the street to St. Andrew’s Church to present the money they had collected for Food Gatherers. With just a few thousand in donations the in 2009, the first year of the tradition, it has since grown to what will be close to 37,000 dollars of donations this year. With a matching grant of up to 50,000 dollars from two very generous donors Harold and Kay Peplau, this fundraiser will provide more than 24,000 meals to those struggling with food insecurity.
Sebastian Wreford, manager of food donor relations at Food Gatherers was at the church on the 22nd of Nov. to collect the money from each of the forums. “I was as astounded last year as the year before, I was astounded at the amazing efficacy of your fundraising drive,” Wreford said.
Anne Thomas, a forum leader at Community, could not believe how much money was raised as a school. The Thomas forum raised the most money out of all the forums, coming close to 3,400 dollars.
“I am proud of my students for raising the money, but I am proud of all the students,” Thomas said. “I was amazed at how well and how many forums were in the thousands.”
The fundraiser continues to grow each and every year. It has turned into a very special and important day for the students, teachers and the community. “It’s one of my favorite days of the year,” Rick Strutz said, one of the owners of Zingerman’s and part of the board of directors at Food Gatherers.
Individual efforts, forum competition and matching grants have all allowed this fundraiser to grow at an incredible pace. “I think the competition between forums really motivates students,” Thomas said. “Our last few years have been outstanding, I just can’t get over how much we have raised. I know tug of war is such an important thing but I feel like this Food Gatherers [fundraiser] has become the other big competition, and what a great thing to compete about.”
Students and families can continue to contribute online, but also extend their efforts by raising awareness about food insecurity in our community. “I hope and I trust that the students of Community are doing what they can to spread awareness of hunger issues and food insecurity issues in our community,” Wreford said.
The knowledge gained and spread from participating in this fundraiser can persist year round. This is if students can continue to help get the word out that, “one in seven people in the community is still struggling to find enough healthy food,” Wreford said. “People are hungry 365 days of the year so there is always something to do to help them out.”
Food Gatherers is also in continual need of volunteers and all kinds of support. “I think a lot of people have misconceptions about who the end user is of Food Gatherers items,” Strutz said. “They are a lot like you and me and in these times right now a lot of people that I used to know that give are now accepting.”