Jerry Lemon Food Drive

Students+at+Jewel+Osco+buying+extra+items+with+the+money+collected.
Students at Jewel Osco buying extra items with the money collected.

Students at Jewel Osco buying extra items with the money collected.

Students at Jewel Osco buying extra items with the money collected.

https://patch.com/illinois/oaklawn/video-shepard-jewel-partner-feed-needy

Emilie Bowman, Sports Editor

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40 years ago Shepard High School teacher Jerry Lemon encouraged his students to bring in food labels to examine in health class. Many students mistakenly brought in the whole can instead. The cans were originally planned to be discarded but Lemon decided to give them to families in need instead.

Lemon then recruited fellow teacher Glenn Simms to help him with the program. When both men retired they passed the program onto Erin McLean who has been running it for the past 11 years.

Spanning the month of November, McLean and other teachers reached out to students, encouraging them to bring in various kinds of non-perishable canned foods, toiletries like toothpaste and soap, and paper products like napkins and plates along with just a monetary donation.

For two weeks, classrooms compete to see who can collect the most items in hopes of winning a donut or pizza party. This year english teacher Eric Kallenborn’s eighth period came in first followed by Jeff Vazzana’s fifth period, Gina Hanna and Mary Noren’s second periods, and Joanna Stasiak’s third period.

This year Shepard was able to help 30 families in need with the generous donations from the students and teachers. Junior Grace Culver notified families in need that they would be receiving the donations that the school has collected.

Highly valued underclassmen were given the task of sorting and helping to disperse the food with McLean and special education teacher Kristine LaRocco. Shepard also delivers the donations to families in need who cannot get to the school themselves. Counselor James Benes drives both students and supplies to their destination so all families can get what they need.

McLean is greatly appreciative of those who help her and the families during the season of giving, “Students are able to talk with the families and it is a very humbling experience. We could not run this food drive without the amazing participation from the teachers and students,” said McLean.

“I always leave the experience feelings grateful for what I have and grateful that I work in such a generous school.” said McLean.

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