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IHS collects food for needy

IRONTON — Students at Ironton High School donated more than 1,000 non-perishable food items to two local food pantries this week.

The items were collected during a weeklong food drive, according to student organizer Katlyn Brewer, a senior. She said students collected a total of 1,046 cans and other non-perishable packaged food items, which were turned in during their fifth period classes.

“I am very pleased,” she said. Brewer shared organizing duties for the annual holiday tradition with senior Tori Stambaugh.

“I didn’t think we were going to get that much but it started pouring in at the end of the week,” Stambaugh said, adding the drive took place during finals week. Students also purchased food items from cash donations they were given.

On Wednesday, Brewer along with a handful of seniors loaded the food into trucks bound for the food pantries at Central Christian Church and the Ironton City Mission.

Both charities were delighted to receive the early Christmas gift.

“It helps out a great bunch. We went this week and picked up 12 skids of food we had to purchase. Our donations of canned goods have really been down this year. This really helps,” said Jim Cremeans, assistant director of the Ironton City Mission.

“We put everything together tomorrow for our Christmas baskets. We have over 650 families signed up. There is more demand for people needing help, this year.”

David Nunnally, executive director of the Central Christian Church food pantry, said his organization has also seen more need this year. “We usually see 18 to 20 people a week needing food,” he said, “We had 47 come in on Monday.” The pantry at Central Christian is open Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“That’s more than double what we normally get. If people are hungry we give them something,” said Bill Spanner, who volunteers at the pantry and was assisting Nunnally on Wednesday.

Nunnally said Central Christian has also experienced a drop in donations – including sources that have a tradition of giving large annual gifts. “We’re short on turkeys this year,” he said, “I think it’s because everybody is hard up.”

The more than 520 cans of food Central Christian received will help keep the pantry stocked for about three weeks, according to Nunnally.

He and Cremeans shared similar sentiment about the donation.

“I’m just happy for the kids, thankful for their willingness to help us. Christmas time is a time of giving, I believe. Usually every year all the schools in Ironton show the love they have to give to the Mission and other organizations in our county and city. I’m thankful for that,” said Cremeans.