BELDING — On Dec. 11, local shoppers were left scratching their heads as to why not a single can of corn seemed to be stocked in any local grocery store throughout the Belding community.
As it turns out, it wasn’t a shipping error, but rather the result of Belding High School students who visited every store and purchased each and every can available for the school’s annual food drive that day.
It was a weeklong effort that resulted in 5,895 collected items that were delivered to the Belding Food Pantry at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
“It’s very impressive. Belding has a lot of different charity causes that the schools help out with,” Belding High School Principal Brett Zuver said. “I never cease to be amazed at how, in a community where financially things are not great, we always seem to step up and help others. It’s something to really be commended.”
The drive has been held for many years, organized by the school’s student council.
According to Dan Scholtens, the student council adviser and chemistry teacher at the school, this year things were shaken up a bit as students were asked not to collect the more affordable and abundant ramen noodles, but focus on a variety of more coveted canned goods.
“Ramen is cheap, people can buy it by the case, but that’s not usually someone’s first choice on what they want to bring home from a pantry,” Scholtens said. “We stuck mostly with, about 97 percent of it, with canned goods.”
Scholtens said previous drives may have brought in higher totals, as much as 10,000 items, but was told by students that they have never seen this many canned goods collected in one drive before.
“That’s why I teach, I’m more into seeing kids grow into young adults,” he said. “I want kids to see that there’s something outside of themselves.”
Student council treasurer and senior David Michalek, 17, said this year’s efforts were something to truly be proud of.
“The great thing is it was a competition within the school, which increased the amount that was donated,” Michalek said. “It felt good. Student council does stuff like this all the time. It feels good to know that school isn’t just basic learning, it also includes the community and events like this.”
Scholtens said the cans were collected during the students’ first hour class. The class that brought in the most items received a prize.
“The thing that always strikes me, is we are traditionally a very, very giving student body,” Scholtens said. “Whenever there is a cause or something for them to participate in, they go head first and 100 percent with it.”