• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

WCHS Thanksgiving Food Drive helps less-fortunate

Woodford County High School students, families, teachers, staff and others donated 9,956 nonperishable food items and $5,044 during the school’s annual Thanksgiving Food Drive.

Their donations re-stocked the shelves of the Food Pantry for Woodford County and ensured 200 less-fortunate families at WCHS had a Thanksgiving meal this year.

Tristan Ferrell, a WCHS graduate who spoke during the Nov. 20 assembly, said the annual WCHS Thanksgiving Food Drive does not change the world. “It’s doing something much more important. It’s changing someone’s world,” he said.

“The amazing work you have accomplished here today,” he continued, “will ensure that your friends, neighbors and families – all across the county – are impacted this holiday season.

“I’m always inspired by our community, and what we can do when we come together.”

Ferrell, co-executive director of Spark Community Café in Versailles, told students that he’s hopeful the nonprofit, pay-as-you-can restaurant will open its doors in January 2019.

“The concept is very simple,” said Ferrell of Spark’s mission. “If your pockets are full, you pay it forward for the person behind you. If your pockets are light, you volunteer for a meal.”

Watching parents drop off hundreds of canned goods for the WCHS food drive in the days leading up to Thanksgiving makes teacher Lindsay Raterman’s heart grow three sizes, she told school board members recently.

Raterman described the annual Thanksgiving assembly as her favorite moment in the entire school year. “We sit there together and see the food that the kids have … donated from their hearts and wallets,” she said.

WCHS assistant Principal Jennifer Forgy ended the school’s annual Thanksgiving assembly by telling students that they are blessed to be able to give to one another and attend a school that values generosity.

“This day,” she said, “is the best of Woodford County High School. May these canned goods bless both the givers and the receivers.”

Speaking at a recent school board meeting, Sharon Hardin, executive director of the Food Pantry for Woodford County, applauded the efforts of WCHS students for all of their hard work so others in the community had a Thanksgiving meal and access to food in the weeks and months to come.

Traditionally, the high school’s food drive has been the community’s largest. The 5,660 pounds of food donated by WCHS families this year will help replenish the food pantry’s shelves this winter – until the annual Letter Carrier Food Drive in May, which collected 3,900 pounds of donated food last May, Hardin said.

While many think of Woodford County as being affluent because it has the state’s lowest unemployment rate, Hardin pointed out that 28 percent of Versailles residents are living at the poverty level.

“That doesn’t make sense, does it?” said Hardin. She cited a lack of reliable transportation as one obstacle for these low-come seniors and families.

The Food Pantry for Woodford County serves over 600 families annually, or over 13,000 individuals a year when repeat monthly visits are included, Hardin said.

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