Students from Lebanon High School have already demonstrated the spirit of Christmas by donating boxes of canned goods and nonperishable food items to the Wilson County Community Help Center, much to the delight of Help Center Director Gail Proctor.
Various groups at the school donated 26,474 cans to the center this year, which is nearly triple the count from last year. Marching band members topped the list of contributions from school clubs with band members collecting 5,640 cans for the effort. The Beta Club collected 1,881 cans, Student Council collected 1,768, Skills USA contributed 1,345 and HOSA totaled 1,203 cans.
LHS feeder schools also got in on the act with Walter J. Baird Middle School collecting 2,320 cans; Winfree Bryant Middle School rounding up 1,540 and Sam Houston Elementary School contributing 1,510 cans of food for the drive.
To make the effort complete, the Student Council donated a check Wednesday for more than $2,300 to the center to help them help others throughout the county.
"This is the biggest check we've ever gotten," Proctor said.
"We had Cumberland University students coming in to help sort and pack the food," Proctor said. "It's going to take us a few weeks to get it all sorted."
She said students had really stepped up to the plate.
"This is the highest amount of food we've ever gotten here," she said. "And they did it in a couple of weeks."
Proctor said it is hard to overestimate how much good the cans and the cash will do for the organization that provides food boxes for the center to distribute to the community.
The ladies of the Student Council visited the center with check in hand and received high praise from Proctor.
"It's hard to estimate how many people this food will help," she said. "We'll feed hundreds of families with it, that's for sure."
Two of the council members were juniors and promised to make sure LHS helps with another can drive next year.
The WCCHC, a United Way agency, serves Wilson and surrounding counties, providing assistance with food, clothing, rent, utilities and emergency medical expenses. A thrift store, open to the public, is filled with donations from local residents providing additional income to supplement the needs of the community.
The Help Center also serves as a referral center with local churches and other agencies to assist with providing housing and transportation. The organization also partners with Second Harvest Food Bank to purchase food in bulk. Middle Tennessee Electric Customers Care provides grants for a variety of financial necessities for Wilson County families.
For more information, contact the Wilson County Help Center at 615-449-1856.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.