Instead of its normal can drive, the Strafford School Foundation is having a donation-based collection for its Feeding Strafford Donation Drive.
During Nov. 16-20, participants can make a financial donation to help feed families in Strafford.
"We do a food drive every year," said Marcy Easterly, Strafford R-VI communications director and community liaison. "It started out as a competitive food drive between Fair Grove and Strafford. We called it Can the Eagles food drive. We did that for five years and it was operated by the Strafford High School cheerleaders."
Following that, the Strafford High School Student Council took over and it became known as the Feeding Strafford Donation Drive. Although this year's collection looks different, Easterly said they have noticed more financial contributions than food donations over the last few years. The Strafford School Foundation collected about $2,000 for the food drive last year.
"Two years ago, we broke the record with $2,146," she said. "We have seen the numbers go up, as far as money donations go. I think that had to do with us promoting the financial contributions. We told people we could do more with the dollar amount by purchasing food at Sam's Club and Springfield Grocers, which is where we get our food."
All of the food items that the Strafford School Foundation purchases goes to the district’s Spearpack program, according to Easterly.
"That's our backpack program," said Easterly. "It’s for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The food is sent home on the weekends for students in need or those having issues with hunger."
Any food leftover from the Spearpack program is donated to the local food pantries in Strafford, according to Easterly. The pantries are operated through First Baptist Church of Strafford and Bass Chapel Baptist Church.
"The Strafford School Foundation started coordinating with the churches for about eight years," she said. "In all those years, all of the food donations went to the Spearpack program and the two local food pantries."
This year's funds will go to both the Spearpack program fund and the pantries. The Strafford School Foundation was created to support the educational programs of the Strafford R-VI School District. The foundation will provide funds beyond the normal operating budget for educational programs and activities for students and staff, according to the Strafford School Foundation website.
"If people want to make a donation, they can go to the Strafford School Foundation website," said Easterly. "They can go to the main page and click the Give Now button. There, they will be directed to the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, which is what our foundation is under."
To make a donation, visit www.straffordschoolfoundation.net.