Community service is alive and well at Southbury Elementary School, as students are participating in a number of initiatives to help those less fortunate.
Recently, students wrapped up their food drive collection in partnership with Aramark, which ran from Nov. 14 through Nov. 18, with all proceeds benefiting the Kendall County Food Pantry.
Cathy Mewmaw, fifth-grade teacher and coordinator of the school’s service projects, said students and parents collected more than 150 boxes of food, toiletries and hygiene products for the pantry.
Through Dec. 1, students will be participating in a toy drive for the Walter Payton Foundation.
“The students bring in new toys and the Walter Payton Foundation comes and picks them up and distributes them to needy families,” Mewmaw said.
At the end of January, students will again participate in the Pennies for Pasta national fundraising campaign sponsored by Olive Garden Restaurant and benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Last year, Southbury set a goal to raise $2,000 for the initiative.
“We generated $6,000,” Mewmaw said. “We were actually in the top five schools of Illinois for fundraising. Our little school alone. It was a pretty cool thing. I think this year we’ll do even more.”
Through the fundraiser, the class that raises the most money gets a free pasta lunch donated by Olive Garden.
Last year, Southbury students were shown a PowerPoint presentation noting facts about leukemia, as well as heard from people in the school who had dealt with the blood cancer and illness.
“It gave them more of a personal connection of why they were fundraising,” Mewmaw said. “It’s the new trend in education to get kids involved in the community and give them that understanding of what is going on.”