Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Food drive grows by tons

Moeller moves out 620 boxes

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP — When students at Moeller High School first started an annual food drive eight years ago, they collected 65 boxes, or about 1,300 to 1,600 pounds, of food.

        When the caravan of trucks left the school Tuesday with the 2001 collections, there were 620 boxes of food. With each box weighing an estimated 20 to 25 pounds, the 950 students collected between 12,400 pounds and 15,500 pounds of food.

        “It benefits poor families. Helping out like this is partially why I came to Moeller,” said sophomore Ross Bittner, of West Chester Township.

        The food is divided between the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the St. George Food Bank. The school's Pastoral Ministry sponsors the project, with help from alumni.

        “For us, this is the largest single food contribution we get each year,” said Janet Cavanaugh, director of the St. George pantry. “I rely on it to feed people through next spring. We augment it with government surplus and smaller food drives.”

        A week before the November food drive, students begin holding assemblies, putting up posters and wearing specially made T-shirts donated by alumni to raise awareness of world hunger, said Keith Valerius, who helps students organize the food drive.

        Junior Tony Maccani, of Loveland, used money from a summer job to buy enough food to fill one box. His mother gave enough for a second box.

        “It's great to help out other people,” Tony said. “Just to know that over the holidays I helped feed a family is great.”

        Tony and about 40 other students spent part of each day packing the food into boxes that were stacked along the school's main hallway.

        By Tuesday, the boxes were stacked 5 feet high. Each box contains enough food to feed a family of four for at least two days.

        “It just kept growing,” said junior Greg Kelly, Symmes Township, during a break between loads of food.

        “We get the boxes and the shirts and get them started, but they take over and do all the work,” said Dan Leugers, a 1977 Moeller graduate and alumni association member.


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