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    East Lake School gives back with annual food drive

    East Lake School gives_B1J9417

    The Chestermere Regional Food bank stopped by East Lake School to pick up the estimated 3200 pounds of food collected by the students there. Pictured: Food Drive organizers and students from the class that collected the most food pose with the piles of donated food. Photo by Jeremy Broadfield

    East Lake School students took a bite out of hunger with their annual We Scare Hunger food drive last month.
    Students at the school raised 3085 pounds of food for the Chestermere Regional Food Bank.
    “We surpassed our goal of 3000 pounds, which is amazing,” said Learning Support Teacher Angela Bain.
    The food drive was organized by student volunteers.
    “It gave us a chance to work together with people of different abilities…for one goal,” said Grade 8 student Ella Tait who was one of the volunteer organizers.
    Grade 8 students Keira Pasila and Aidan Ramage said that the volunteered to organize the food drive because they wanted to help support the food bank.
    This is the third year that East Lake School has had a food drive.
    Grade 8 Teacher Ashley Lepage said that it has grown every year setting and surpassing their goals every year.
    “We’re going to have to do more,” she laughed.
    The students get to set the goal each year. This year’s goal of 3000 pounds was a 500-pound increase from last year.
    “I can see them probably doing 500 more next year,” she said.
    “As long as the need is there we’ll keep going,” said Lepage.
    As part of the drive, there was a friendly competition between the different classes at the school to see who could bring in the most food by weight.
    As part of the educational component of the program, teachers spoke to the students about the importance of giving back and how it makes them feel.
    “We talked about how we’re getting close to Christmas and how it would be awesome if we could donate things that could be used for Christmas dinner,” said Lepage.
    They also spoke to students about thoughtful giving, especially in light of the weight based competition between the classes.
    “Weight was the goal for the class competition but we definitely want to recognize students who are donating things that were thoughtful,” she said.
    Grade 5 student Kalia Maillot and the rest of her class won that competition bringing in about 420 pounds of food.
    “Everybody brought in a lot,” she said, “and we kept trying to get people to bring in as much as they could.”
    Maillot said that her class has been trying to win for the last few years.
    “I stayed in to recess a few times to help…to count and to help bring all the food down,” she said.
    It was a lot of work to counting and collect the food but knowing they were helping the food bank made it worth it.
    “No children should go hungry,” she said.
    Maillot said it feels amazing to have succeeded in winning this year.
    With the win, the class will get a pizza party.
    “I’m really looking forward to that,” said Maillot who’s favourite pizza is pepperoni.
    East Lake School wasn’t the only local school working to help the food bank.
    Our Lady of Wisdom School, led by the Youth for Social Justice team raised 2072.4 pounds for the food bank.
    This is the most collected by the school since it opened.
    The Chestermere Regional Food Bank’s Executive Director Mardi Oel said that the annual school drives are very important to the food bank.
    “The school drives, kind of keep us going all year,” she said.
    In addition to the donations that helps to keep the food bank open, Oel thinks that working to give back teaches important lessons to the kids.
    “They’re being taught what a food bank is, and to help your neighbour,” she said.