By ALVIN REINER
---- — WILLSBORO — The All Hands on Deck Food Chain, a culmination of the College for Every Student/Key Club drive, collected more than 600 items for the town’s Food Shelf.
Cans, boxes and other containers traversed the impromptu serpentine artery, which stretched from Willsboro Central School’s front door around the driveway to Farrell Road, then along the sidewalk, across a field and down the stairs of the Town Hall.
Considering the meandering course of about a half mile and a school population of 286, coupled with adult participants, each individual spanned an average of 8.5 feet of the chain.
Since the preschoolers and elementary students might be considered “short-handed or short armed,” the high-school students got a workout covering longer spans between links.
In addition, the food chain was broken crossing the thoroughfare, where adults ferried the cargo in boxes.
Though this was the first time for this event, the logistics seemed to allow for a smooth transition.
To add to the festive occasion, many of the participants were adorned in Santa hats, elf head wear replete with enlarged ears or reindeer antlers.
‘IT FELT GOOD’
Lorilee Sheehan’s third-graders were pleased they could assist.
“I feel happy that people in our town will have food for Christmas,” said Manny Frechette.
“It felt good to give poor people food that do not have enough money and stuff,” Lydia Valachovic added.
Jaycob Gough said it “felt good that I could help get food to the Town Hall for people that do not have any.”
Town Clerk Beverly Moran, who is Food Shelf coordinator, said the chain was “a great idea. It was awesome. It gives you a tingly feeling.”
Moran said monetary contributions also came in after letters went out to local churches and businesses. Many individuals also added to the coffers.
So, the 25 boxes that will be packed will include other items to brighten the holiday season.
“Our schoolwide food chain was an outstanding success,” WCS Superintendent Steve Broadwell said. “As with all communities, everyone comes together to help out and to lend a hand when someone is in need.
“In this case, including students and staff, cooperatively, we used over 600 hands to help re-stock the town’s Food Shelf. This is especially timely during this holiday time of year, when giving is so important.
“For our students and staff, it was a wonderful experience that everyone will remember. Our students are already making plans for next year.”
College for Every Student Adviser Marie Blatchley, a French teacher at WCS who spearheaded the event, said the community is always supportive of the school.
“When we received the letter from the Town Hall asking for our assistance, we didn’t hesitate for one second. It was our turn to give back, and we’re happy the drive was so successful.
“This is a way that we can show our love for this community.
“I may have come up with the idea, but the students had so much fun participating,” Blatchley said. “It creates a sense of community. The chain was a nice ending to the food drive. The community supports the school, so it is a good way to give back.”
Junior Nick Arnold, a College for Every Student member, said: “It was pretty neat to see the whole school come together to help out those in need but not surprising. I’m proud to have been one of the students to have led this project.”
Austin Ferris, also a junior and College for Every Student scholar, said the event brought the school and community together.
“Participating in it gave me a sense of joy, knowing I helped families in need this holiday season.”
Email Alvin Reiner: firstname.lastname@example.org