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Video: Harriton students collect food for Philabundance

By Richard Ilgenfritz
Mainline Media News
rilgenfritz@mainlinemedianews.com

Harriton High School students recently worked together in a competition to collect thousands of food items to help feed the hungry throughout the Philadelphia region this year.

Ninth- through 12th-graders competed to see which class could collect the most food in a drive for Philabundance.

Officials from Philabundance say food collection this time of year is important since many people only think of the need for helping those in need during the holiday season.

“What it means for us is that at a time when it is very difficult for us to acquire food, we’re going to have food to get us into the summer and then be able to provide food for families who need it this time of year,” said Marianne Lynch, director of development at Philabundance.

According to information provided by Philabundance, more than 900,000 low-income residents of the Delaware Valley are at risk for chronic hunger and malnutrition. In 2009, 17 million pounds of food were distributed in the Delaware Valley that went to 65,000 people per week. Seniors account for 16 percent of the people helped by Philabundance and another 23 percent are children.

The 10th-grade class won the Harriton competition by collecting the most food of each of the four classes. Each day, students brought food into school and placed it with their respective class. As the food was collected, a tally was kept to know which grade was in the lead every day.

Campbell’s Foods also stepped up and donated 17,000 pounds of food to the collection.

Last fall the students held another drive where they collected toiletries that were taken to area food banks and given out to the needy.

In the final phase, Crayons to Cradle, students will collect clothing and toys for children throughout the area.

“We think this is so incredibly important,” Lisa Woolbert, a Home and School Association parent, said when describing the drives during a recent meeting of the Lower Merion Board of School Directors. “Forever, parents at Harriton have been asking us please increase the community service and not just where a mom can go just buy a can of beans and the student brings it in.”

Students from throughout the school helped box up the food and load it onto a Philabundance truck on the loading docks in the rear of the school.

Students say they it is important for them to help out when they can.

“Helping others inside of your community; it really shows that you can help and every little bit counts,” Harriton student Mih Taylor of Bala Cynwyd said about the food drive.

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