Students load turkey dinners into the back of a small school bus for delivery to families unable to pick up their donations. | Supplied photo
The Jerry Lemon Needy Family Food Drive at Shepard High School this year received more than 40 full turkey dinners from the Jewel-Osco food store in Palos Heights, according to a press release from Community High School District 218.
The generosity of shoppers at Jewel helped make this year’s food drive one of the best in its more than a quarter century of existence, the release said. Combined with donations from students and staff, the food drive fed more than 100 families, it said.
For families that either do not have cars or did not have time to pick up donations, staff members Erin McLean. Brad Fisher, Courtney Siska and Jim Benes and more than 20 student volunteers delivered turkeys, stuffing, potatoes and canned goods to them, the release said.
Teacher Eric Kallenborn found an inventive way to inspire students to give: The class that donated the most could choose, within reason, how he would cut and style his hair. Kallenborn arrived on a recent Monday with his hair spiked down the middle and colored a dark purple.
“It was completely worth it. Students donated more than $900,” Kallenborn said in the press release.
Despite an economy that has thinned family budgets, the Shepard community again rose to help those living in need, the release said.
The event traces its history to some good fortune. Lemon, a health teacher, had asked his students to bring in labels from canned foods to discuss nutritional information. Too lazy to peel off the labels, many just brought the cans, so Lemon chose to donate them to an area food pantry, the release said.
In the years that followed, the food drive evolved. After Lemon retired, Shepard teacher Glenn Simms managed the food drive for 20 years before retiring in 2008. He involved more teachers, parents and Shepard clubs to grow the food drive into a much larger project, the release said.