Lake Forest High students weigh in on food drive

Students from Lake Forest High School gather and weigh food collected in a drive that ran this month. Students received more than 3,000 pounds of food. Donations will benefit the Food Bank of Delaware and Lake Forest’s food pantry. (Delaware State News/Brooke Schultz)

FELTON — For 10 Lake Forest High School students, the start of school on Wednesday included some heavy lifting — more than 3,000 pounds of food.

“We honestly did not think that we would even hit 1,000 [pounds],” noted Mackenzie Miller, a junior who spearheaded the drive. “It’s crazy the amount we had.”

Donations will benefit the district’s food pantry, and the Food Bank.

The food drive began Feb. 4 and concluded Wednesday. In the morning, the students who are part of Corey Yanoshak’s business class went to their designated schools within the district to retrieve their donations.

Outside of the high school, the students unloaded their trunks and weighed the items.

Lake Forest High School students and staff members Cassie Widerman and Corey Yanoshak pose with the donations they received during this month’s food drive. (Submitted photo)

As part of Mr. Yanoshak’s business class, students are involved in the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy. Schools can partner with local franchises, which then provide financial support for projects that serve the community. Through the academy, students tackle the project “Do Good December.”

While the district has done food drives before, there hasn’t been one within the last few years, and students knew that they wanted to go big for their project, Mackenzie said.

Leading up to the drive, the students created and dispersed flyers, met with schools in the district to set up collection and drop off collection barrels, met with the superintendent and connected with the Food Bank of Delaware.

“It was a lot more involved than I was expecting it to be,” Liam Sussman, a junior, noted. “I went around to all the schools a lot of different times and just like seeing the amount of stuff was really surprising because I didn’t expect us to get this much.”

Mikayla Smith, a senior, agreed.

“East is one of the smaller elementary schools — and we had to go over to decorate the barrel and to give them more boxes,” she said. “It’s just like for as small of a school as they are, they gave so much.”

In one instance, Mikayla said that one child put his lunch in the donation because he didn’t have cans but wanted to help.

“The younger kids, they like to help a lot,” said Ezra Butler, a junior.

The drive exemplified what Mr. Yanoshak tells the students during class, he said.

“One, it shows the power of giving back in the community. And two, to me, the best learning experience is not going to come out of a book, it’s going to come from getting out and doing stuff,” he said. “And this is one big way that they can do that.”

Fostering leadership and community building is all part of what the leadership academy endeavors to do, Brittany Doby, public relations for the Camden Chick-Fil-A said.

“I’m super proud as a bunch of teenagers who could be doing whatever they wanted to, chose to come together as a team and do something for the community that’s going to better them and that they want to keep doing it,” she said. “A school like this is well worth the investment for the money because we know it’s going to good use.”

Cassie Widerman, the food pantry coordinator, said that through the donations they’ve received, she has been pulling items for the district’s pantry before the items go to the Food Bank, which is a partner with the pantry.

After seeing the response, Mackenzie wants to keep the drive going.

“I think that’s what makes our district a family, that we can all come together as one to help people around us,” Mackenzie said.