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Madrid-Waddington Elementary donates to local food pantries

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WADDINGTON – Madrid-Waddington Elementary School students and staff have collected over 700 non-perishable food and personal care items for two nearby food pantries.

The idea started out as a unique way to celebrate the students’ 100th day of school, and blossomed into a way give back to the community, elementary school Principal Matthew Daley said Wednesday.

“The kids really enjoyed doing it,” Mr. Daley said. “And the teachers were able to incorporate math to it to make it educational. Both communities are now 100 items richer after today.”

The food and personal care drive was held from Feb. 10 to 14.

The project was a school-wide effort. Universal pre-kindergarten collected pasta, kindergarten collected macaroni and cheese, first grade collected vegetable soup, second grade collected toothpaste, third grade collected chicken noodle soup, fourth grade collected deodorant, fifth grade collected shampoo, and teachers collected 100 cans of tuna.

“Members of the Parent-Teacher Organization came in every day and did counts for us,” Mr. Daley said. “At the end of the day, they were the ones who colored in the thermometers. The kids helped them.”

Students celebrated their 100th Day on Tuesday. The food will be delivered to the pantries Friday.

Madrid Food Pantry Coordinator Anita C. Davis and Waddington Resource Center Director Edie Streeter said that they were surprised when the school first approached them with what sounded like an ambitious goal.

“We didn’t know quite how they were going to do it,” Mrs. Davis said. “But look at this. There’s nothing here we wouldn’t use. It’s also teaching them a lesson about giving back.”

The donations will come in handy, Mrs. Streeter said, for the rest of whe winter when pantries typically see a lull in donations.

“We typically serve about 25 to 30 families, but lately we’ve served over 40,” Mrs. Streeter said.

The collection of shampoo alone will help at least 20 families, Mrs. Streeter said.

“We typically get more requests for donations when food stamps run out at the end of the month,” Mrs. Davis said.

Several students said they would participate in the project again.

“I liked how we were helping people get something that everyone needs,” fifth-grader Addison H. Grandy, 10, said. “Everyone needs soup and shampoo.”

Fifth-grader Phoebe A. Zagrobelny, 11, said that she enjoyed helping collect the items with her mom.

“My favorite part was when we gave the food to the pantries,” she said. “They can’t give to people without help.”

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