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Filling bellies and warming hearts

CCA Middle School students hold Holiday Food Drive for the NL Pantry
Eighth grade students at the Clear Creek Amana Middle School in Tiffin collected 501 food and other household items as part of a Holiday Food Drive organized by students in a service learning elective class called Me to We. Over 1,135 items were gathered by sixth, seventh and eighth grade students for donation to the North Liberty Community Food Pantry.

TIFFIN– The holidays will be at least a little bit brighter for some thanks to a group of Clear Creek Amana (CCA) Middle School students, and a lot of generous individuals. Ten eighth graders at the school in Tiffin are participating in a service learning elective class called “Me to We.” According to their teacher, Leif Asper, the students organize local and global service campaigns in coordination with an organization called WE.
According to WE’s website, www.we.org, WE is a family of organizations including WE Charity and ME To WE with programs and initiatives domestically and internationally, with the WE Global Learning Center (and headquarters) located in Toronto, Canada. The CCA group’s first local campaign was a food drive sponsored by the Tiffin Fareway, benefiting the North Liberty Community Pantry. Asper said the students picked the receiving organization, with over 1,135 items collected.
“Fareway (in Tiffin) has been supporting us from the beginning (the drive started in early November). They gave us brown paper bags and shopping carts for collecting the food items, and they have been collecting food donations at the store for us as well,” he said.
As a tangible reward for their efforts, Asper said the students are earning tickets to a celebrity studded music and motivational event in Chicago called WE Day.
However, the students are discovering many intangible rewards as well. “I did this because it sounded nice to give to those less unfortunate,” Taylor Dolezal said. “I’ve always loved to give to others and just didn’t want to turn down this opportunity. To be honest, I am quite surprised at how much support and recognition the food drive has gotten, but I am proud. The impact that it’s going to leave on families and it’s going to help those in need.” Seeing the generosity of the community toward those less fortunate was eye opening for some, such as Mia Craigo who said, “I was surprised of the amount of food we got and it makes me happy to think about how many families we are going to help.” Sage Creller agreed, saying “This makes me feel proud and happy to know that so many people care enough to donate food.”
Some, such as Craigo, have discovered that while they can’t solve all of the world’s problems, they can at least make a difference locally. “I did this because there’s so many problems in this world and it feels good to try and fix one of them,” Craigo said.
Others, such as Aia Oldman, already have experience volunteering to help others, and this was yet another opportunity. “I love helping people and have done volunteer services in other communities for years. It’s always fulfilling to help people, and the group we have is great,” she said.
Some people truly feel joy when serving the needs of others, as Holly Adams stated, “I like the fact that it helps me to know that one person or a bunch of people will have more food, clothes, and toys to make their lives easier and happier. This has made me feel great because it allows me to help people.” Tyler Mundt added, “I think it is really good to help others around the holidays and it makes me feel good doing it,” while Kylie Crosby saw the project as not only doing good, but also raising awareness. “I think the campaign is showing the people at school that there are people hurting and they need help.”
Ellie Hohenshell spoke of the pleasure found in helping others, saying “We are doing this because we want to give people who are less fortunate stuff they need because everybody deserves to be happy. I think it is amazing because helping people each second is the most happiest thing that I could ever imagine in my mind! It is going amazing, everybody is donating a lot! It feels really great helping people.”
Crosby, however, embodied the act of charity when she said, “I love helping people and making them smile. It warms my heart.”