BERLIN — The spirit of giving was on full display this week at Worcester Preparatory School as students began organizing seemingly endless stacks of food for distribution to the less fortunate in the community during the holiday season.
On Wednesday, students at Worcester Prep started to organize and prepare the massive amounts of canned goods and other non-perishable food items they have been collecting since Thanksgiving for the annual Student Government Association (SGA) Food Drive. On tables in the school’s dining hall were stacks of food the students were organizing by type in preparation for distribution to six area churches and support organizations, which will, in turn, distribute to those most in need in the community this holiday season.
Each year, Worcester Prep’s SGA organizes the annual holiday food drive, which includes contributions from each and every one of the school’s 550 or so students. Each student is asked to donate at least $3 and as many canned goods or other non-perishable food items for the drive.
“It’s an annual thing Worcester Prep and the SGA has been doing for as long as I can remember,” said SGA President Lucas Baier. “Every kid donates $3 and brings as many canned goods as they possibly can. The food is then organized and distributed to six different churches or support organizations throughout the area.”
Baier said the $3 donations from each student this year brought the total to around $2,000. That money is then used by the SGA to purchase hams to go along with the endless baskets of food collected and distributed to the local organizations. In the past, the SGA would take the money and buy as many hams as they could from area grocery stores, but the volume of donations this year had the students looking for a new source.
“At over $2,000, this is the most we’ve collected in any year,” said Baier. “We used to go around to local stores and buy as many hams as we could, but with the volume of the donations this year, we made a deal with Sysco to get as many as we could with what we collected.”
The SGA Food Drive distributes the massive amounts of food collected to various churches and support agencies in the area across different geographic, secular and religious borders. Among the recipients this year are the First Baptist Church, St. Paul’s in Berlin, the Stevenson United Methodist Church’s Spirit Kitchen, Diakonia in West Ocean City, the Atlantic Methodist Church in Ocean City and the Joseph House in Salisbury.
With the food stacked and organized in the school’s dining hall, the students were ready to split it up evenly and distribute it to the recipients. Baier said parents with minivans or trucks would help transport the holiday food packages to the churches and other organizations.
In addition, earlier this month, the Lower School students each wrapped a present to be collected by the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office for distribution to the needy in the community during the holiday season.
Baier said the amount of food and monetary donations collected were commensurate with the tough economic times.
“This year and last year, the churches and organizations called us and came to us seeking donations because the demand is stronger than ever with the economy and so many still struggling in the community,” he said. “We’ve collected more this year than ever and I’m very proud of our students for rallying for their community.”