Baskets fully loaded with food filled the office space at Clark-Pleasant Intermediate School.
Cans of vegetable soup, green beans, corn and sliced peaches were loaded to the top. Packages of macaroni and cheese and jars of peanut butter spilled over the sides.
The students had spent the past two weeks bringing in all of the nonperishable food they could find for the annual Good Cheer Fund food giveaway. The room with the most to contribute before Thanksgiving would get to mash a cream pie in the face of Principal Kurt Saugstad.
A good laugh at their principal’s expense was the immediate motivator for the students’ generosity. But underlying their efforts was a desire to help those in need.
“Anything we can do to get them excited, and they love it. It’s pretty easy to get them on board,” Saugstad said.
Schoolchildren have become the engine that drives the Good Cheer Fund. Every year, schools contribute about 35,000 canned goods to the cause, providing more than half of the items eventually given away to 775 needy families in the county.