This year, the response was phenomenal with over 200 students and teachers donating to the cause and over 2,300 cans, boxes and bags of food collected. According to food drive organizers, the outpouring of food represented a 66 percent increase over last year's donations.
Kindergarten through fifth grade students kept track of the food each class collected and incentives were offered to the grade level that collected the most items for the food drive. The winning teacher and her students got to spend recess playing in the gym on giant inflatable games, which were supplied by the Monett YMCA.
In addition, each student earned the opportunity to "shop" for a free book if they contributed at least five items to the food drive.
"The teachers said students were so thrilled with their books that they all just wanted to sit down and read them when they came back to the classroom," said Renae Neill, director of the Purdy AmeriCorps Reading Coaches program. "Of course, this brought a smile to the face of everyone in the school."
All items collected through the food drive were donated to Crosslines in Monett and will be used to fill Christmas baskets for needy families this holiday season. On Dec. 16, the Reading Coaches will help fill boxes that will be handed out that day from the local pantry.
"We want to thank the parents and children in Purdy for their generous donations," said Neill. "This food drive has been going on for years and has shown steady growth, but this year was phenomenal."