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 The Monteith Elementary School student council held a food drive to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. The students  visited the facility Dec. 5.

The Monteith Elementary School student council held a food drive to benefit Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. The students visited the facility Dec. 5.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Monteith student council’s food drive helps Gleaners

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published December 10, 2019

 Monteith Elementary School first grader Charlie Henze, second grader Amalea Orlando and fifth grader Victor Certeza pack food for families in need.

Monteith Elementary School first grader Charlie Henze, second grader Amalea Orlando and fifth grader Victor Certeza pack food for families in need.

Photo by Deb Jacques

DETROIT/GROSSE POINTE WOODS — The Monteith Elementary School student council wanted to help out others, so Nov. 1-25, students held a food drive at the school to feed the hungry.

Their collection of canned goods — including fruit, vegetables, tuna fish, peanut butter and spaghetti — was donated to Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan.

But their charitable act didn’t end there. On Dec. 5, the 28 students who compose the student council and their parents and grandparents visited Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan in Detroit.

Gleaners Community Food Bank is headquartered in Detroit and operates five distribution centers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Livingston and Monroe counties. The organization provides food to 528 partner soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters throughout southeast Michigan.

First grade teacher Elizabeth Wang and second grade teacher Pamela Liagre are the student council teacher leaders. When the Monteith students first arrived at Gleaners, they received a lesson in nutrition and also learned more about the operations behind Gleaners from Food Access Program Coordinator Maria Orsick.

With that knowledge, the students then formed an assembly line to pack meals for the food bank’s backpack program. Gleaners partners with local schools to distribute the backpacks, which contain food for children who rely on free or reduced-price meals during the week. Each backpack was filled with one canned fruit, two cans of vegetables, tuna fish, pasta and shelf-stable milk, which does not need to be refrigerated until opened.

“This is the first community service project of the year,” Wang said. “It’s hard for them to imagine not having food on the weekend. This is a tangible way to make it real for them. I find it impactful for the kids.”

“It’s twofold. It really benefits us, and it helps kids at this young age get involved in their community,” Gleaners Director of Marketing Terry M. Collia said. “It’s kind of fun for them.”

To help publicize the food drive at Monteith, the student council members made posters and displayed them around the school. Vice President Russell Warner, President Brayden Kozlowski and Secretary Zoe Schechter, all fifth graders, also promoted the food drive on the school’s morning news.

“We would read our script,” Kozlowski said. “We did it a lot.”

“We collected food that wouldn’t spoil,” Warner said.

“We had 10 boxes,” Kozlowski said. “We filled up all 10 of them. I donated some stuff. Pretty much all the students donated.”

Third grader Riley Slattery said she felt sad to know that some people go without food.

“It makes me want to help them,” Schechter said.

“I think any food they’re getting is going to make them happy,” Kozlowski said.

Slattery thinks the families that receive the backpacks they assembled will be “happy and excited.”

“They’ll have enough food,” Warner said.

“We’re really fortunate to have the food we have,” Kozlowski said.

The students were impressed with the spacious Gleaners building.

“There’s a lot of food and a lot of space to put food,” Slattery said.

All four students enjoy being on the student council.

“I think it’s important to help other people,” Schechter said.

“It’s a good way to reach out to other students,” Warner said.

“It shows that you are a leader,” Kozlowski said.

“I wanted to help the school and different people in the community,” Slattery said.

For more information on Gleaners Community Food Bank, or if you would like to hold a food drive, visit www.gcfb.org.