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Newtown Students Collect Food Throughout The District



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Newtown Students Collect Food Throughout The District

By Eliza Hallabeck

Just a few weeks after Reed Intermediate School students Dwyer Grimes and Talia Hankin individually chose to request food donations in place of birthday presents, food was piled high inside the school’s main entrance thanks in part to their efforts and rest of the Reed student body, staff, and families.

Along with Reed, other schools in the district also collected food, toiletries, or other items to donate to local charities and food pantries. Both Sandy Hook School and Middle Gate School held Turkey Trots to kick off food donation efforts, and at Head O’ Meadow, the School Community Team collected clothing to donate to Danbury’s Dorothy Day House. At Hawley School, the Kids Care Club collected food and toiletries to donate to the Salvation Army Food Pantry in Town Hall South. Newtown Middle School’s student council was also busy collecting food for its annual food drive over the past few weeks.

While loading food collected at Middle Gate on Friday, November 19, Women Involved in Newtown (WIN) Co-Chair Mandy Monaco said food from a number of Newtown’s schools was collected this year by WIN to go to the United Methodist Church, and from there to more than 70 families in need in Newtown.

The aim of the collections, Ms Monaco said, is to gather enough food to get those families from Thanksgiving until Christmas.

Middle Gate held multiple food drives at the school along with its Turkey Trot. More than 20 classes decided to adopt families this year, and some held their own food drives.

Ms Monaco said WIN had roughly 20 members, including her Co-Chair Cindy DaSilva, working to collect the food from all the schools involved in its food drive. Reed Intermediate School’s collection was also going to WIN’s cause. Ms Monaco said Newtown High School also adopted a family with oversight by guidance counselor Jeff Tolson, and Fraser-Woods Montessori school also raised food to be donated to Newtown families through WIN.

Before the 4,000-plus collected cans of food were transported from Reed’s lobby to the Newtown United Methodist Church by WIN members, Student Council advisors Lara Brown and Matthew Brown announced the winning homeroom from this year’s food drive. Each homeroom worked to collect the most food. This year Mrs Brown and Kelly Marcoux’s cluster won the challenge by collecting 720 cans of food.

“Here at Reed Intermediate School,” Mr Brown said, “we strive to make every student experience a learning experience. Take the Student Council food drive for example, the lesson is quite simple: Giving is better than receiving. Clearly, Dwyer and Talia understand this lesson, as does Reed’s student body. This year’s food drive was a massive success. We collected over 4,000 cans for families in Newtown needing a little extra help this holiday season.”

Dwyer said his mother suggested having him collect food for his birthday, and he has been giving up birthday presents during his birthday celebration since he was 6 in order to help raise effort for causes. Talia said one of her friends had the idea of asking for food instead of presents.

When asked why it was important to collect food, Dwyer said, “So people can have what they need for the holidays, and more.”

Talia added, “And have a happy Thanksgiving.”

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