Wauconda High School students know how to hold a food drive. But now, they also know how to drive food.
This year, because of the new location of the Wauconda-Island Lake Food Pantry, items donated to the school's monthlong collection were driven to the pantry Friday morning. Last year, a human chain was used, passing the items by hand to the pantry's former location on Main Street.
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Fifty-five vehicles and nearly 250 students transported the 2,125 items collected to the pantry on Bonner Road. The procession began with a ribbon breaking, party streamers and confetti and received a police escort.
Wauconda High School's interim Student Council President Alex Schorr said the "drive" portion of the event was a creative way to get people involved.
"This is a great way to get everybody in the school involved as well as the community" Schorr said. "We had members from the chamber (of commerce) bringing food, we had notices on the marquee around the town. It's also a great way to include competition, and also the main purpose of this is obviously to help families in need."
Each of the school's classes collected food during the month. "We had a competition between the classes again this year, and the first-hour class received breakfast and they will also be helping to load the food and to take the food out of the cars at the food pantry and start loading shelves at the pantry," Schorr said.
The Wauconda-Island Lake Food Pantry is a volunteer organization that's served the community about 30 years. It provides for 200 families in Wauconda Township.
Marge Rucker, the pantry's president, sees the students' involvement as a big help to the organization.
"We see such a support from all the schools because they spread it out from October through March," she said. "And of course we have other groups, Lions, the Moose, businesses in town, so many other organizations that give to the food pantry, that helps all year round."
Students donate items the pantry would not normally purchase, like cookies, baked goods and paper products, Rucker said.
Wauconda Township trustee Mary Schorr, a co-organizer of the drive, said the event took about six weeks to pull together.
"I think it's a great experience for all the children involved, to be involved in community and to think of others and not just themselves" Schorr said. "I'm proud of them for the way they organized, coordinated and their willingness to help others."