FORT MILL — Donations to a food bank heading toward the holidays – not entirely uncommon. But donations from a food bank?
On Monday a district-wide food drive wrapped up involving Fort Mill high schools, middle schools and elementary schools. Well before that deadline, the overwhelming response presented an unusual problem for the Fort Mill Care Center.
“They are literally having to share some of the food with other centers in the area because they can’t keep it all,” said Forrest Holloman, student organizer with Nation Ford High School.
That was more than a week ahead of the final food tally. Students and staff had more than 28,600 pounds of food with five schools still to hold their collections. They’d already reached the goal of doubling last year’s haul of 14,000 pounds.
Jeane Cassidy heads the food pantry side of the Care Center. Just ahead of Monday’s deadline she decided to keep what the center could to provide for local residents in need, and donate the rest back to a district backpack program providing food for needy students throughout the year.
“We at the Fort Mill Care Center were concerned that we would not have storage space for all the food on top of the very generous donations that we get this time of year from the community,” Cassidy said. “It looks like our share of the collected food will be similar to the amount that was collected last year.”
Other drives are taking place, too, like Scouting and church groups. As her volunteers prepped Monday for the school drive donations to arrive, they sorted eight tons of items from the past weekend’s Boy Scout drive.
Cassidy is grateful, she said, of the schools and others who are remembering their neighbors as the holidays and cold weather approach. In its second year, the district food drive is something organizers would like to make an annual event.
Chuck Epps, superintendent of the school district, took part in a presentation during the Fort Mill versus Nation Ford football game when only the early return numbers were registered. The drive, he said, should be a point of pride for all schools within the district.
“The numbers sounded astonishing to me,” Epps said. “It’s just another example of what this community can do when asked to volunteer or participate.”