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Linda Mah
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KC Food Drive Nets 11,000 Pounds of Food

KC Feeds Kzoo Food Drive Has Several Ways to Give

Kalamazoo Central High School held its most successful food drive ever in December collecting more than 11,000 pounds of food for the Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes food bank.

It was the second year for KC Feeds Kzoo, an expansion of Kalamazoo Central’s traditional Stuff the Bus food drive. This year’s effort included the school collection and the one-day stuff the bus collection at Harding’s Friendly Market on West Main Street, plus collection sites at Gazelle Sports and Anna’s House, expanded neighborhood collections and a fundraising concert at Old Dog Tavern with the Out of Favor Boys.

“We really pushed it this year,” said senior Suja Thakali, who has been involved in the food drive since she was a freshman. “I’m not surprised at all that our hard work paid off at the end.”

National Honor Society advisor and government teacher Rex Hafer said the KC food drive is one of the biggest food drives for the local food bank, second only after the annual U.S. mail carrier’s drive held in May.

In mid-December, the unofficial totals for the KC drive were more than 11,000 pounds of food and about $5,500 in cash donations. The school was holding a raffle and continuing to solicit cash donations in an attempt to make its $7,000 monetary goal.

The majority of the food donations came from the school community and the collection sites, most notably at the bus collection at Harding’s, Thakali said.

Junior Chloe Carlson was a first-time food drive coordinator, and she was impressed by the response from the community.

“Being involved with leading one of the neighborhood drives, it was crazy to me how many people were willing and wanted to help and donated food,” Carlson said. “It was surprising that we hit that high and went so much over our goal.”

Thakali said students had a lot of ideas for the drive and it was challenging to pare down their ideas.

“The hardest part of the drive was getting everyone involved and updated on what was going on,” Thakali said. On Dec. 15, the day of the community collections, students had to be very organized to coordinate the collection of goods and their delivery to Loaves & Fishes.

While the NHS and Link Crew lead the food drive effort, she said the entire school participated with many student clubs getting involved to help boost donations and aid in collecting items every day.

Carlson said Kalamazoo Central is a caring community that really wants to help the broader community.

“I know that in our school district there are a lot of kids and families that deal with the problem of hunger,” she said. “Anything we can do to solve that problem is important.”

Thakali thanked the students and the community for making the food drive a success.

“Hunger should matter to everyone around the community,” Thakali said. “You never know who is next to you who goes to the food pantry or who is in need of things from the food pantry.”

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