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Local Students Donate Close to 11,000 Items to Area Food Pantry

Pinecrest Academy
Pinecrest Academy

For the past six years, Pinecrest Academy in Cumming, Ga. has hosted the annual “Elves for Shelves” food drive. The service initiative began years prior but gained momentum in 2017 when the lower, middle and high schools began competing to see who could stock the most shelves.

Each year, the campaign begins just after Thanksgiving and runs through mid-December. The St. Joseph’s Food Pantry at St. Brendan Catholic Church has been the beneficiary of this annual school campaign for several years now.

This year, close to 11,000 food items were collected by families, faculty and staff. Students were encouraged to be actively engaged, with some going door-to-door in their neighborhoods.

“We started doing the Elves for Shelves Food Drive several years ago to meet a need at St. Brendan’s St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, but it has turned into a fun tradition that our students and parents look forward to each year,” said Emily Roman, Director of Campus Ministry at Pinecrest Academy.

“Campus Ministry collaborates with the deans in each building to make this event a fun contest that serves others. PreK3-8th Dean of Students Jay Lynch makes animated announcements that include singing each morning of the food drive, giving updates on which class is winning the contest so far,” Roman added.

At the end of the drive, middle school students make sculptures with their donated goods before sending them to the food pantry. One class created a stadium this year.

“Our Campus Ministry Coordinator, Karen Gann, organizes high school volunteers to deliver the collected goods periodically throughout the contest because they don’t fit inside the buildings,” Roman said. “A total of 11 truckloads of goods had been delivered to St. Brendan by the close of the campaign.”

Barbara Gordon, Director of the St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, said, “Food donations we receive from Pinecrest’s drive will help provide free food assistance for families in need until next summer. The number of families is increasing weekly. We are fortunate and grateful for the support at Pinecrest Academy.”

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