Community of Hope Food Drive a huge success

On Tuesday, September 20th ,Community of Hope Ministries found itself calling local storage unit facilities looking for space to store several truckloads of groceries that were donated to the ministry by students at Garner Magnet High School participating in the Garner Magnet High School Homecoming Food Drive competition. In all, over 3900 total items were donated to the food pantry during Homecoming Week at Garner Magnet High School, September 19 – September 23rd.

Student Government advisor Jill Cottengim said, “It was neat to see the students take ownership of the drive this year. Last year was the first year we incorporated the food drive service component into our Homecoming Week activities. This year, the students took the idea and coordinated food drives in neighborhoods throughout the community to bring in additional food.”

Leaders from the Senior Class including Iva Earley, Zac Wilson, Gabi Dugal, Keith Boyette, Krista King, and Steven Jones contacted Community of Hope Ministries Development Director, Amy White, the week before Homecoming started to express the desire to run a food drive in Turner Farms subdivision.

White provided the bags and the flyers and the students walked door to door asking that neighbors participate in the drive. “The response was incredible”, said Earley, the student coordinator for the Senior Class drive. “It was easy and fun, and we know the food will go to those who need it most.” The Turner Farms drive returned an incredible 811 items placing the Seniors in first place to start the week of Homecoming Competition.

However, the Freshmen Class of 2015, goaded by the taunts from the high school’s upperclassmen that the Freshmen homecoming float was going to be too small and that the freshmen powder puff team would lose etc. secretly executed a three-subdivision homecoming food drive that brought in over 2000 food pantry items. Teams of students worked together to orchestrate drives in Turner Farms, Heather Downs and Hampton Ridge. Freshman Class advisor, Jon Sherwin, said he could not be more proud of the students in the Freshman class. “What they have done shows real class. Next week the floats will be forgotten and the no one will remember the score of the Powder Puff Game. To know that these kids worked together to collect food for those who are hungry in our community shows true heart!”

Freshman leaders involved in the food drive were: Lindsay Wright, Kyle Sammarco, Robbie McLamb, Duncan Forster, Bryson White, Logan Schild, Nicole Root, Nikki Wallace, Nick Phillips, Caroline Banker, Adam Gogal, Sarah Jankowski and Cassie Marshall.

White, said that the credit for the success of the food drive really goes to the school leadership. “I can’t say enough positive things about Principal Drew Cook and School Athletic Director, Doc Harrell. When we first approached the school about doing the drive, there was not a moment of hesitation. Both school leaders agreed that it was a win-win for both the school and the community.”

In addition to the weeklong competition, Harrell and the Trojan Athletics Booster Club offered $1 off of game admission to the Homecoming Game matchup between Garner and East Wake. Chick-fil-A marketing director, Kim Baber, joined the partnership by offering a FREE Chick-fil-A sandwich to anyone who donated at least three items on the night of the game. White added that the school’s Homecoming Week coordinator and Student Government advisor, Jill Cottengim, does an excellent job getting the students excited about participating in Homecoming week. “Jill added the food drive into her normal routine, just like she’d been doing it for years. I don’t think the Homecoming food drive would be a success without her support!” concluded White.

“It was an amazing week!” said White. To watch the pantry go from almost empty to abundantly overflowing is just a true blessing from God! We are so thankful that we will have the items we need to serve the at-risk and needy in our community.

Homecoming Week Food Drive Totals:

Freshmen: 2018

Sophomores: 784

Juniors: 70

Seniors: 811

Other: 250