FARMINGTON — Students and teachers at W.G. Mallett and Cascade Brook schools collected over 4,280 pounds of food for the 24th annual Helping Hands Food Pass.

With each student carrying a plastic grocery bag with an item or two, classes from both schools walked from their schools to the Community Center on Middle Street Friday morning.

“It’s an incredible feat, particularly after losing the sixth grade to the middle school,” Pauline Rodrigue, volunteer coordinator for the Mount Blue Regional School District, said in an email Friday. “A huge thanks goes to the students and teachers who faithfully support this project every year.”

Volunteers, retired teachers, friends and community members sorted and boxed the items for the Care and Share Food Closet in Farmington. Mary Paradis and Wanda Fortin helped organize the volunteers who sorted the food, Rodrigue said.

Five students from Denise Correll’s Employability Skills Program at Mt. Blue High School assisted with the setup and loading and unloading heavy boxes of food, she said. Those students included Tamaria Knox, Jasmin Hinkley, Maranda Lane, Makayla Tracy, Scott Bachelder and Aaron Williamson.

Mt. Blue employee Greg Oakes helped the students load the boxes onto a school truck to go to the Fairbanks food closet.

“It is a well-oiled machine,” Rodrigue said of the operation.

There was some concern this year about a smaller quantity of food being collected for the food pass, because the sixth grade moved from Cascade Brook to the middle school, she said.

Within 45 minutes, the students had delivered all items. There was a good amount of food and donations included baby food, an item not often seen, she said.

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