By BRIAN FERRY
Food on the table and presents under the tree.
Photo submitted to Times Observer
Sheffield Area High School senior football players (from left) Nick Bonavita, Evan Jamison, George Fitch, Jeb Greto, Kalil Slaughter and Ike Nearing donate Toys for Tots items to Mary Anne Paris of Presents and Posies.
Thanks to the efforts of students at Sheffield Area Middle High School, hundreds of non-perishable food items were contributed to the Sheffield Food Pantry and dozens of new toys for Toys for Tots.
The theme was 'Giving Back', according to Principal Amy Beers.
Students in the home economics club were in charge of the food drive. The club raised 620 items for the Sheffield pantry for its Christmas drive and in honor of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month, Beers said.
"Senior members of the Sheffield Wolverine varsity football team... dropped off over 30 items for Toys for Tots," Beers said. "As a symbol of their appreciation to the Clarendon and Sheffield communities for their financial support for the fall athletic season and in realization that the children of this community look up to them, the varsity team decided to give back in this way."
"The students are very aware of the fact that the community has supported them immensely this school year," Beers said. "The idea of being reliant on someone else for them to benefit was unsettling for some of our athletes."
When the Warren County School District's budget shortfall led to cuts to athletics, among many other areas, the district expected communities to pick up the slack. The communities came through. While that is a positive thing for the programs, it's thought-provoking for the players.
"The athletic budget issues made them realize what it's like to potentially go without something that they enjoy," she said. "This has provided a great opportunity for SAMHS faculty and staff to seize this as a teachable moment."
"Giving feels good and it's part of being a good community member and citizen," she said. "It didn't hurt our kids to give, but it surely helped a lot of people."
The efforts are not one-time things.
"The football team has already committed to this being an annual toy drive for them," Beers said. "The Home Ec Club is on board to lead next year's school-wide food drive."
"I didn't ask them to do these activities again, so the teachable moment has already worked," Beers said.