IJHS students collect more than 2,000 cans of food

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 24, 2002

When the Ironton Junior High School Kids Care Club began their canned food drive, their adviser and school principal had some doubts it would be a success.

"I was kind of worried, but all of a sudden, people started bringing in carloads," principal Jerry Watson said.

IJHS students collected 2,919 cans for the Church of Christ food pantry.

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The club began during the illness of Shane Jones, an eighth grade student who died in October after a nine-year battle with leukemia.

"Shane brought this club together," Missy Fields, IJHS guidance counselor and club sponsor, said. "We began with fund-raising for him. His motto was 'Never Give Up,' and it was instilled into these kids to help others. The club had 14 members last year, and now, we're up to 87."

Students in Ty Barnes's homeroom class brought in 599 cans, the most of any homeroom. All of those students who brought in at least five cans will get a pizza party. Watson believed this made the students want to compete.

"It was slow at first," Barnes said. "Then, I challenged the kids to get involved and donated some of my own food."

When one or two students would bring in numerous cans, others would follow their leads the next day, Barnes said.

Two other homerooms were very close, Kathleen Baker, one of the winning eighth graders said. The other students did not engage in any "trash talk" while cans were being collected, but they would occasionally peek into their competitions' rooms to see how they were measuring up.

As he loaded boxes of food onto the school's elevator, Craig Castle, another winning student, commented on how it took two elevator rides to take the food downstairs.

"Make that three!" he yelled when he realized that the second load would not get the rest.

Gear Up will pay for the pizza party, Watson said. Also, several students who weren't in Barnes' homeroom brought in 25 cans or more, and they will be rewarded somehow.

"This will make Thanksgiving happier for a lot of people," Fields said. "I hope it will make Thanksgiving happier for the students because they've helped someone less fortunate."

Jessica Clay, another of the winning students, commented that she wants Mountain Dew with a plain cheese pizza when she and her classmates have the party.