Third graders, from left, Merik Jackson, Gavin Zechmeister, Isabella Gonzales and Amanda Gotwalt bag nonperishable food items into a bag that will go to Mayville Area Share Shop and become a part of Christmas food baskets to the needy. The food drive has been a part of Mayville Elementary School for more than 20 years. (Photo by John Cook).

Third-grade students collect canned goods for Mayville families

Third graders, from left, Merik Jackson, Gavin Zechmeister, Isabella Gonzales and Amanda Gotwalt bag nonperishable food items into a bag that will go to Mayville Area Share Shop and become a part of Christmas food baskets to the needy. The food drive has been a part of Mayville Elementary School for more than 20 years. (Photo by John Cook).
Third graders, from left, Merik Jackson, Gavin Zechmeister, Isabella Gonzales and Amanda Gotwalt bag nonperishable food items into a bag that will go to Mayville Area Share Shop and become a part of Christmas food baskets to the needy. The food drive has been a part of Mayville Elementary School for more than 20 years. (Photo by John Cook).

Mayville Elementary School students celebrated the spirit of giving in an annual food drive for the community.
The Third Grade Share Shop Food Drive brought in more than 3,100 nonperishable food items to the school that will be given to the Mayville Area Share Shop, 6037 Fulton St., and used to make Christmas food baskets for needy families in Mayville and surrounding communities. The school’s goal this year was 2,500 nonperishable food items.
The event has been going on for more than 20 years, said third-grade teacher Kristine Tedrow who is in charge of the drive with fellow third-grade teacher Tara Olar.
Both third-grade classes sponsor the event, but all students participate.
Students brought the food Friday to Mayville Area Share Shop and received a tour of the store.
In addition to the drive, all classes held a competition between one another to bring in as many nonperishable items as possible. The competition was held in November.
First place was awarded to the class with the most items, and the award was a pizza party.
Second place gets a dance party, and third receives a popcorn party.
Tammy Foor’s fifth-grade class won first place with 688 items, followed by Tedrow’s third-grade students with 514 and by Susan Washburn’s fourth grade with 400.
Food items were turned in steadily, Tedrow said, though just last week one classroom had only seven items for three weeks of the competition. And before it ended, a family brought in 170 items alone.
“What’s great is it goes right back into the community, and these kids know that,” said Olar. “They do completely understand it, even at third grade, why they need to do this.”
Tedrow echoed Olar’s comments.
When the drive began she asked students why bringing in items was so important.
“A student said, ‘Well, it shows that not only adults can do things to help out their community, kids can as well,’” said Tedrow. “I think it’s awesome. They’ve worked really hard, everyone in this building has.”
The school reached out to the community for outside assistance for the drive, and got in touch with Bell Wasik Buick GMC in Caro to borrow a truck to transport the food. On Monday, Olar said a representative from the dealership asked if the dealer could donate to the project through a Facebook campaign. For every “like” or “share” on the post, the company donates a dollar.
As of Friday, the post was shared 504 times and liked by 398 people. The post can be seen at http://bit.ly/2g0ENFs.
Savannah Weber, 8, a student in Tedrow’s class said this food drive is about helping out the community, not winning a competition.
“Some people don’t have a lot of stuff for the holidays,” Weber said. “They need products like food, clothes and shampoo so they can make it through the holidays.”
Weber said helping out around this time of year is something she enjoys and knowing that others are happy makes her glad too.
“I like helping out and making people happy and seeing people with their family. It’s a happy thing because we’re helping out.”
At Mayville Area Share Shop, Treasurer Lynda Brooks said the store makes more than 160 boxes for families and Foster Creek Mud Runners in Fostoria will provide toys.
Brooks said there is a great need for assistance in Mayville and its surrounding areas.
“For the entire year, we spend $18,000 to $20,000 on food and everything is used,” said Brooks.
All food is purchased with profits made from the store with items priced at 25 cents, but items such as furniture or prom dresses cost more.
Ashley Blackmer, 8, a student in Olar’s class said she likes helping families reach a state of feeling content during the holidays.
“I like seeing families happy because they can be as happy as we are,” Blackmer said. “And they can have as much food as we have and survive.”
Blackmer said she likes participating in the project because she likes seeing families getting through the holidays and having as much fun as other kids do.
“The best part about doing this is helping out families,” Blackmer added. “I don’t think they’ll survive the winter (without help).”
Debanina Seaton is a reporter for The Advertiser and can be reached at debanina@tcadvertiser.com

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