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Ritenour School District’s 2021 Food Drive Tops 19,600 Items for Families & Community

Despite the hardships of the ongoing pandemic, Ritenour students, their families and staff donated 19,690 items of food during this month’s annual food drive. 

Ritenour Middle School led the way in donations with an overwhelming 10,409 items.

The food was picked up Monday, Nov. 22 and brought to Ritenour Co-Care Food Pantry, located at the Ritenour Husky Support Center, 9303 Midland Blvd. The unique food pantry, which offers a grocery store shopping experience, provides free fresh, frozen foods and shelf-stable items to more than 750 Ritenour families who experience food insecurity each month. 

Kim Sagakhaneh, a counselor at Ritenour Middle, said the generosity of students and staff was amazing this year. Many students either donated money for counselors to purchase food for the drive or brought in items.

“In my 20 years here, I can't remember a time that students have been so generous,” said Sagakhaneh. “We have had kids giving up to $100 of their own money to contribute. Despite the hardships of this pandemic, this year’s food drive has shown that our school and district are committed to taking care of each other.”

Giana Fouché, a seventh-grader at Ritenour Middle School, was one of several dozen student leaders who helped pack up boxes of food and load the trucks. She said it was heartwarming to see so many donations. 

“With the pandemic, there are so many families that are struggling right now,” said Fouché. “It was really great to see that so many people were excited to help. It really has made the community come together.”  

Overland Public Works, St. Ann Public Works, and Ritenour custodial and maintenance staff loaded trucks and brought the items to Ritenour Co-Care from nine Ritenour schools. Other school donations included:

Buder Elementary, which collected enough money to purchase 20 large turkeys and an additional $280 that were donated earlier this month.
Buder ELementary staff hold frozen turkeys for food pantry

Iveland Elementary, which collected 680 items of food. Each grade level donated a different item that is part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Staff donated money to purchase turkeys that will be added to food baskets for seven Iveland families. More than 20 boxes of food were donated to Co-Care.
Iveland family boxes

Kratz Elementary collected 1,043 items.
Kratz food donations

Marion Elementary collected 1,592 items.
Marion Elementary

Marvin Elementary collected 1,400 items.
Marvin Elementary

Wyland Elementary collected 1,662 items that were donated to 20 Wyland families.
Wyland Elementary

Hoech Middle School collected 1,552 items.
Hoech Middle Students

Ritenour High School collected money to purchase food as well as non-perishable goods, for a total of 1,332 items. 
Ritenour High School

The district’s annual food drive for Ritenour Co-Care started back in 1982, when Ritenour Middle School teacher Ken Crowder started the collection as a class project. That year, the district collected 2,000. Although Crowder has since retired from the district, he continues to be fully vested in the project as president of the Overland Neighborhood Preservation Commission.