District to distribute food for the needy
The Janesville School District employees' third annual "Delivering Bags of Hope" is set for Saturday, Dec. 17.
The district took over the long-running event from the United Auto Workers/General Motors three years ago.
The food distribution involves extensive planning and food-buying with money collected from employees and the community.
About $40,000 was raised in each of the first two years since the schools took over. District Superintendent Karen Schulte said the goal is to raise $30,000 to $40,000 this year.
"We would like to serve 300 families again," Schulte said.
Last year, about 400 families were served.
The goal was to supply families with two weeks of groceries to get them through the time when school is out and students don't get free meals through their school lunch and breakfast programs, Schulte said.
Last year's donations allowed for more than two weeks of food for most of the families, Schulte said.
"If we get less money, there'll be less food in the grocery bags. We're hoping people will be as generous as they have been in the past," Schulte said.
There was so much food last year that organizers had to find food pantries to take the excess, Schulte said. This year, local churches that have food pantries have been contacted so they can be ready Dec. 17 in case the same thing happens again.
A waiting list of families will be readied in case there's more food, Schulte said.
Some of the excess is generated when families forget to be at home to accept the food, Schulte said. Deliveries are not made unless someone is home.
Each school is encouraged to have its own fundraisers and get students involved through their sports teams, clubs or student councils, Schulte said.
School social workers compile the list of families that will receive the groceries. Senior citizens are also on the list. Schulte said it's too early to say whether the need this year will be greater than last year.
Schulte said UPS is again donating trucks and drivers, although drivers with private vehicles also are needed.
The district is again working with Woodman's Food Markets to turn the cash donations into food bought at prices not available to the retail shopper. Seneca Foods and Pepsi are donating their products, as they have in the past.
Organizers of the Janesville School District's Delivering Bags of Hope food drive are looking for:
Contributions—The food drive will accept cash or checks only through Friday, Nov. 18. Checks may be made out to the School District of Janesville and delivered to any school office or the Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St., Janesville, WI 53545, care of Denise Jensen. Receipts will be given so contributors may claim them on their taxes.
Volunteers—People are needed to fill grocery bags, help with setup and cleanup and drive bagged food to families on Saturday, Dec. 17. To volunteer, call Jensen in the superintendent's office, (608) 743-5055. Work starts at 7 a.m. at Hufcor, 2101 Kennedy Road, Janesville, and will last about two hours.