Out of the classroom and into the community: Kalamazoo County students host food drives

Students at Kalamazoo Central High School are holding their annual KC Feeds Kzoo food drive this week. (WWMT/Jessica Wheeler)

KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. - Students across West Michigan are working to help feed their communities this holiday season.

Newschannel 3's Jessica Wheeler visited two local schools to see their own unique twists on the holiday tradition of giving back.

Students in both Schoolcraft and Kalamazoo Public Schools hope no families have to go without food this holiday season, but they need the community's help to make sure.

Each morning this week, kids at Schoolcraft Elementary School flock to the lobby with canned goods in hand. As part of a district-wide food drive, they are working to fill an entire train with food that will stay right in their own community.

"It is really important. The kids know exactly when we say who this food drive is for. They can look out the window and see exactly where it's going to end up,” said Matt Webster, the principal Schoolcraft Elementary School.

In addition to teaching the kids about giving back, they're also adding some STEM work.

"They have an engineering challenge going on as well where they have to design and develop a vehicle to bring 15 cans from their classroom down to the train by the end of the week,” said Webster.

Between all the schools in Schoolcraft, they hope to raise more than 2,250 items for the Schoolcraft Food Pantry which is right next door to the schools.

Students at Kalamazoo Central High School are also busy working to feed the hungry. For the second year in a row, they are expanding their food drive to reach more people.

"Last year we targeted a small amount of neighborhoods, but this year we're kind of branching out into the neighborhood behind Walmart, 10th Street. We've also branched out to Valleywood,” said Suja Thakali, a Kalamazoo Central senior and organizer of the KC Feeds Kzoo food drive.

For a decade, the students have held a food drive at Harding’s, stuffing a bus for Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes. This Saturday, the students will also go out into the community asking for even more help, and adding a charity concert into the mix as part of KC Feeds Kzoo.

"We're really trying to get as many people involved as humanly possible,” said Olivia Smith, a Kalamazoo Central senior.

The Kalamazoo Central students have a goal of 10,000 pounds of food and $7,500 they hope to collect by Saturday.

If you want to help, they will be at Harding’s at West Main and Drake in Kalamazoo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday collecting food items and donations. From 3 to 6 p.m. they will host a benefit concert at Old Dog Tavern in Kalamazoo. Admission is free, but those who bring canned goods will be entered to win prizes.

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