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Donations to help many have filling holiday

By Staff | Nov 25, 2008

Many families throughout the city will have a bountiful Thanksgiving this year thanks to students from Cape Coral High School who collected thousands of canned food items and raised money for holiday meals.

Students in the Future Business Leaders of America club and members of the National Honor Society began the collection drive on the first school day in November and it concluded Monday.

Carol Shaw, a teacher at Cape Coral High, said the students collected between 5,000 and 6,000 canned items as well as funds to purchase turkeys and gift certificates from Publix.

“FBLA originated it and when it got bigger, NHS teamed up with us two years ago. We do a joint effort because it gives us more hands to do the work,” said Shaw.

Overall, 27 Future Business Leaders of America members and approximately 100 National Honor Society members spent the last month conducting the drive. Other students in the school donated canned food, and teachers and parents could submit cash donations.

“The kids bring it in for the good of their grade; sometimes they do it just because,” she said. “We do anything we can think of to get the kids to bring the cans in.”

On Monday the students distributed four boxes full of cans, a Thanksgiving turkey and gift certificates to Publix for 30 needy families whose children attend Cape Coral High. Eligible families were referred this month by students and teachers who checked to make sure they were in need.

“We do it for Cape Coral High families only. I feel bad when I can’t do anything for the ones who aren’t here,” said Shaw.

Over the last 12 years, the number of participating families has grown from around five to 30. Shaw said there are more families asking for this help this year than ever before.

“It was really hard to listen to the stories. I am sure we didn’t even tap the number of people who needed help,” she said.

Shaw explained that there are some leftover canned goods which go directly into the school’s Christmas drive collection.

“Anything we have left over we roll over into our Christmas drive,” she said.