Oswego School District 308 has announced the start of its seventh annual food drive to support the Kendall County Community Food Pantry.
"Hunger is less prevalent in our community thanks to the Kendall County Community Food Pantry providing thousands of food and household items to families every month," a press statement issued by the district reads.
This year's food drive will again unite all district schools in "an effort to stock the shelves of the KCCFP", including the newly established Oswego satellite location, located at the East View Academy and district office. The Oswego location is set to open to the public Friday, Nov. 6, coinciding with the annual food drive.
Food items can be dropped off at district schools through Wednesday, Oct. 28. Buses will be located at each school between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays, and from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. Individuals at each bus will assist in loading food supplies onto the bus and counting items to be included in the school's total.
Donation items can include: Non-perishable food items, baby care items, pet food, and household supplies like paper goods and cleaning products.
"The food drive is about more than a competition between the schools," the statement read. "It is an opportunity for students to learn about hunger and food insecurities and how important it is to be helpful to others in a time of need."
Donors can also financially support the food drive, the press statement continued. For every $1 donated through the KCCFP online portal, a school will receive "credit" for eight food items.
"This is due to the fact that the KCCFP is able to use bulk buying power to purchase $8 worth of groceries for every $1 received," the statement explained.
"The food drive occurs at a critical time before the holiday season, when food donations are needed most. It also aligns the efforts of individual schools to maximize the community's impact in fighting hunger locally," the statement continued.
Up for grabs this year, is the traveling grand championship trophy, given to the school that donated the most items. The winners of the food drive will be determined by the total number of items collected at each school. There will be winners declared at the elementary level, junior-high level, and high-school level.
Last year's grand champion was Churchill Elementary School in Oswego, which donated 48,983 items. The junior high division winner was Bednarcik Junior High School in Aurora with 12,763 items donated, and the high school winner was Oswego East High School with 26,321 items.
Combined, OSD 308 collected 286,994 items in 2019 to be donated to the KCCFP.
"Each year since its inception, this donation drive has grown and accounts for the largest single donation the food pantry receives annually," the statement read.
Superintendent Dr. John Sparlin said that he hopes 2020 will be another "record-breaking year."
"This will be a great opportunity for our students, parents, and staff to come together to help combat hunger in the area,” Sparlin said. “This is a wonderful way to align our efforts, while the students learn about hunger and the importance of giving back to the community. By working together, every little bit counts.”