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Mariner students collect donations for Salvation Army; Annual drive brings in 1,400 pieces

By Staff | Oct 7, 2008

Students at Mariner Middle School spent the month of September collecting approximately 1,400 pieces of canned food and dried goods for The Salvation Army of Lee County.

Assistant Principal Shelley Siriano said 30 members of the National Junior Honor Society organized the canned food drive as a community service project. They were assisted by faculty sponsors Megan Romine and Johnna Renyhart.

The canned food drive was made into a competition between teams throughout the school. Those with greater collections received donuts and juice in the morning, she said.

“They divvied up the school to various buildings with teams assigned to each building,” said Siriano. “They did math and statistics to determine who was ahead. It was a good experience for them.”

Siriano said the drive was an annual event that had diminished in popularity over the last three years, but was reinvigorated this year by students.

“We had done this before and it was very successful several years ago,” she said. “The two teachers really picked up the gauntlet and said, ‘We are going to do this and do it well.'”

Siriano said most of the collected items will stay in Southwest Florida.

“It is up to what The Salvation Army wants to do,” she said.

On Wednesday The Salvation Army will go to Mariner Middle to pick up the collected items. Jacquie Williams, resource and media specialist for The Salvation Army, said the food will be collected at the Army’s warehouse and sorted.

“It goes to the food pantry for distribution to needy families,” said Williams.

In August the local chapter reported that its food pantry was empty. Demand from the pantry had increased 70 percent in the first six months of 2008, and supplies from local sources could not keep up. Williams explained that the organization’s food pantry supply is “maintaining.”

“We had a couple of companies who did some food drives for us,” said Williams.

Students who raised the most goods will be invited to an award ceremony Friday where they will be given traveling trophies that stay at the school for one year.