MEXICO — Students at Meroby Elementary School on Monday donated $500 to the Greater Rumford Mexico Area Ministers and Priests Association Food Pantry.

The money came from tokens given to students who demonstrate good behavior, and are typically used to buy items at the school store.

Oxford Federal Credit Union, which presented the school’s check to the pantry, also matched the students’ donation, Principal Kim Fuller said at a schoolwide assembly.

“Meroby Elementary School issued a challenge to local businesses to match how much the students raised and we answered that challenge,” said Tammy Daigle, vice president of support at the credit union.

The school and credit union have worked together to make donations for the last four years, she said.

An OFCU employee group called Helping Hands works on fundraising for the credit union’s Ending Hunger campaign by having raffles, bake sales or making donations when they wear jeans, Daigle said.

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During the summer the employees also have gardens and donate the fresh produce to help end hunger.

“So any campaigns or events going on that have that focus to help with the food-insecure and end hunger, we’re actively involved with,” Daigle said.

GRAMPA Food Pantry Director Sue Byam says that the credit union is one of the pantry’s largest donors.

The pantry got its start in the 1980s with Ron and Alice Ashworth of the Mexico Congregational Church, known as the Green Church.

The pantry’s mission is to help low-income and in-need people of the community or people in crisis, Byam said.

Although the pantry is housed at the church it is not a church-owned pantry, she said.

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Byam said that students using their tokens is a benefit for everyone involved, because “their parents don’t have to go out and buy groceries to give us for a food drive and the donations come from the kids themselves. They get so excited because it’s not from somebody else,” she said.

Jessica Sirois, a fifth-grade teacher and positive behavior intervention and support leader for the school, said students are taught to follow the school code of “Be Kind, Be Respectful, Be Safe and Be Responsible,” and they can earn tokens when they demonstrate good behavior.

“It’s a tangible piece that reminds them that they’ve done a job well, attached with a verbal ‘This is why you’re getting it,’” she said.

GRAMPA Food Pantry serves Mexico, Rumford, Roxbury and Byron.

Hours are 2 to 3:30 p.m. Mondays and 9 to 11 a.m. Fridays.

The pantry is currently in need of cereal, peanut butter and canned vegetables.

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Meroby Elementary School students donate $500 worth of tokens to the Greater Rumford Mexico Area Ministers and Priests Association Food Pantry on Monday at a schoolwide assembly. Oxford Federal Credit Union in Mexico presented the check, and also matched the students’ donation. From left are fifth-graders Alison Adams, Alyvia Theriault and Ethan Gilbert, school Principal Kim Fuller, pantry Director Sue Byam, credit union Vice President of Support Tammy Daigle and school mascot Monty Moose. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)


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