Soroco students fill the food bank |

Soroco students fill the food bank

High school group delivers 350 items for local families in holiday season

Zach Fridell

— More than 150 families rely on the LIFT-UP Food Bank in Oak Creek, so when the student council at Soroco High School wanted to help a worthy cause, they saw the food pantry as an ideal choice.

Completing a two-week long food drive, the group of students delivered 350 items to the community center food bank Tuesday morning in preparation for Thanksgiving.

Student council sponsor and leadership teacher Tammy Gilleland said she saw the food drive as a way to teach servant leadership.

“This is just getting kids to see what leadership is about – that leadership is being in service,” she said.

The five student council members who dropped off the food Tuesday were President Ashton Martinez, Secretary Chelsea Nason and members Felica Starks, Cameron Lichnovsky and Bethany Leu.

The 12-member student council organized the drive as a competition between the school’s classes, with a root beer float party at stake. The senior class took the top spot with 125 items donated, and they chose the freshman class to serve them.

Recommended Stories For You

LIFT-UP Executive Director David Freseman said the “vast majority” of food distributed by LIFT-UP centers are from donations. Of the $150,000 worth of food donated through the Oak Creek, Steamboat and Hayden food banks, about $17,000 is purchased, while the rest is donated.

“It’s awesome,” Freseman said about Soroco High School’s effort. “There are food drives happening all over the place, and I don’t even know about all of them.”

Freseman was surprised by the donations from the school but welcomes all donations.

“This site will be stocked coming into December,” he said.

Even with many donations, the $17,000 worth of food that must be purchased is a vast increase compared with the $6,000 to $8,000 that was purchased two years ago, because of an increase in demand.

Other projects

This is not the first or last community service that students at Soroco High School have undertaken this school year. After learning that the wife of a school janitor was diagnosed with cancer, students raised $1,400 to help with medical bills.

Gilleland said she was impressed by the students’ philanthropy.

“The projects they’re proposing, so far, are not activities for them but projects to serve the community,” she said.

The students will begin another fundraiser in the coming weeks to sponsor a needy family for Christmas.