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Students help local food banks

CORTLAND — Wanting to help others in the area, students at Lakeview and Howland high schools recently spent several weeks collecting nonperishable food item to give to food banks and pantries.

The activity was part of the 10th annual National Day of Service hosted by the Guidelight Financial Group with Ameriprise Financial partnering. Students from both school districts placed items in school buses.

Howland students gave their food donations to Second Harvest Food Bank, which provides many area food pantries with food.

Students from Lakeview delivered their items to Cortland Area Cares Food Pantry, where students spent time sorting and placing items on the shelves.

Seventh-graders Mara Schmader, 12, and Molly Stuart, 12, said the day’s event was fun but was most importantly was knowing it will help others in the Cortland and Bazetta areas in need

Emily Krygowksi, an adviser and teacher, said the students know that collecting items for the food pantry will help people at Thanksgivijng and Christmas receive food.

She said students from elementary school to the high school took part.

Krygowski said the Lakeview High School Beta Club collected items door to door on Halloween and the Junior High Beta Club held a food drive for most of October.

Angela Sarko, high school teacher and adviser, said the high school students collected more than 820 cans, the junior high nearly 1,000 cans and the elementary contributed 500 cans.

Total items donated to Cortland Area Cares was 1,520.

“We are proud of what the students did,” she said.

Margie Petrunia, elementary teacher and adviser, said the elementary children were excited to be part of the effort to help others.

Donna Kittle, coordinator of Cortland Area Cares, said the generous donation of food items and the volunteering has helped get some of the work before the holidays done.

“I look forward to this every year. We need food year round, but it is always important to have items for the holidays and end of the year,” Kittle said.

Kittle said the food pantry helped 250 families in October in the Cortland and Bazetta areas.

She said there are many senior citizens and single moms in the two communities who need help. Kittle said there is also more students in the schools who need help.

Krygowski said there is a food pantry to help students.

Kittle said 20 percent of the people they help are senior citizens, 30 percent under age 18 and 50 percent families who face challenges getting food.

“There are many seniors who need food and many are widows,” she said.

Stuart said she learned from the activity the importance of giving back including by providing food.

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