Food Bank receives funding through student service project

St. Marys Catholic Middle School (SMCMS) students recently participated in a contest, and in doing so, also raised money to help fight hunger locally. The school participated in the annual "To Know and To Serve" contest, which encourages students to know their faith and to serve the community. Through this program, students had the opportunity to compete in teams of five, answering questions about their religion based on textbook materials. Sixth graders were also required to adopt a social service agency or organization and carry out a service project to benefit the mission of the agency. This year, the sixth graders chose to help the Christian Food Bank in St. Marys. They decided to hold a Chinese auction within the school and collected items donated from students, parents and staff members. The students collected $602.80 through their auction. They then competed in the district "To Know and To Serve" academic competition in Clarion and took first place, which earned them another $100 for the food bank, and concluded with a second-place finish at the finals in Erie. SMCMS sixth grade teacher and service project leader Mary Ann Rettger said the students received $150 from the Erie Diocese, $100 that they earned by placing in Clarion and another $50 to spend as a class how they wished. They decided to donate the $50 to the Christian Food Bank as well, bumping up their overall gift to $752.80. "I'm really proud of them for giving up the extra $50 they were supposed to spend on themselves and their class," Rettger said. "They decided to give it to the food bank instead."These kids are amazing."Betsy Roberts, treasurer of the Christian Food Bank, praised the SMCMS students for their time and effort in raising funds for the organization. "I just think it's to their credit and to the credit of their teachers. We live in a fantastically generous community, and I think it's even more impressive when the students are willing to raise money to give to others in need - students in all of our schools locally. Community service in the schools. It gives you hope. I truly believe you can accomplish a lot of good through local community efforts," Roberts said. Roberts explained how the students' donations and the generosity of other local organizations and individuals have helped the food bank secure additional funding. From March 1 to April 30, the Feinstein Foundation sponsored the 2011 14th Annual $1 Million Giveaway to Fight Hunger. Any food and monetary donations or pledges made to the Christian Food Bank and other agencies participating in the giveaway are logged, and when the two-month donation period is up, the Feinstein Foundation divides $1 million proportionately among the participating agencies. She said the Christian Food Bank is expecting notification on how much money it will receive from the Feinstein Foundation's $1 Million Giveaway to Fight Hunger sometime in the next few months.