FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington students are joining forces with W.G. Mallett School students to collect canned goods to support local food cupboards this holiday season.

W.G. Mallett School is joining forces with the University of Maine at Farmington for this year’s Helping Hands Food Drive. The food drive is underway now and will run through Dec. 5. Pictured in the front, from left, are Mallett students Ben Sawyer, Abigail Toothaker, Joslynn Riley, Abel Prior, Thomas Strickland, Marjorie McCarthy, Chris Rowlins and Brennan Tibbetts. In the back row are UMF Student Senate representatives Nathan McIvor, Grace Letze, Brianna Marquis, Dominic Stevens and Jessica Freeborn. Dee Menear/Franklin Journal Buy this Photo

The Helping Hands Food Drive has been a part of the Mallett school culture for a long time, said Principal Tracy Williams.

“Retired teacher Wanda Fortin was behind the idea decades ago,” said Mallett Principal Tracy Williams. “She and some other retired teachers still help out.”

This is the first year UMF is involved.

“We are excited about having them involved,” she said. “It makes sense because they are in the neighborhood of the Farmington Community Center where collected food is sorted and distributed.”

Students at both campuses having a little friendly competition as they collect food.

“We are running a contest to see if clubs can collect so many cans,” said UMF Student Senate President Jessica Freeborn.

There is also a competition to see how much Mallett classes can collect, said Williams. However, the staff understands not everyone can give.

“We realize some of our population are food pantry participants and they can’t always be part of the giving,” she said. “We want to be sure all kids can make a contribution.”

To share the spirit of giving, art teacher Kim Jacques is helping students make winter-themed greeting cards.

Students at W.G. Mallett School are making winter-themed greeting cards as part of their effort to support the Care and Share Food Closet. Dee Menear/ Franklin Journal

“Some of the cards will be delivered to the Care and Share Food Closet,” Williams said. “We will also sell packages of cards at the American Legion during Chester Greenwood Day, Dec. 7.”

Funds raised will be donated to the food closet, she said.

On Thursday, Dec. 5, students will walk the food they have collected from their campuses to the community center where it will be sorted and delivered. A storm date of Friday, Dec. 6, has been scheduled.

While the majority of the food collected will go to Care and Share, some of it will support the Thrifty Beaver Co-op at UMF and Mallett students, Williams said.

“This is a real need,” she added.

Those wishing to make donations can drop them off at Mallett school, 116 Middle St.


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