Students collect 16 tons of food for United Food Bank - KMSP-TV

Holiday food drive: Students collect 16 tons for United Food Bank

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GILBERT, Ariz. -

With Thanksgiving just a week away, we're seeing a lot of food drives and communities coming together to help those who need it most.

On Thursday, it was a group of students making a difference!

Students at Desert Ridge Junior High in Gilbert were hard at work, loading pound after pound of food that was piled high in the hallways.

"Corn, potatoes, vegetables, canned fruit, cranberry sauce, bunch of cereal and rice," said Kayla Hatch, a student.

The 1,400 7th and 8th graders have collected about 32,000 pounds of basic essentials.  Their largest collection since the school started the event in 2001, according to physical education and math teacher Jeff Schafer.

"We always try to motivate them and see if we can do a little better than the previous year.  We just put that challenge out there and the kids responded," he said.

"We had competitions in our class for prizes if we brought it in.  Everyone was bringing in all types of cans," said Brock Ereckson, a student.

The goal was to fill 20 huge cardboard boxes with food.  Each box hold about a ton of food and will be taken to United Food Bank.

"I brought a lot of cans, so knowing other people will have food it makes me feel happy and generous that I've done something good for the world," said Brooke Earl, a student.

Principal Jean Woods says the students have labored since the beginning of November to make this Thanksgiving a memorable one.

"It just takes your breath away because we started the first year with 3,000 pounds of food, now going to hit 32,000."

Combined with all the previous drives, Desert Ridge has now donated a quarter of a million pounds of food to the United Food Bank, no doubt making a difference this holiday season.

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