Lakota Answers the Call, Stuffs the Bus

Lakota Answers the Call, Stuffs the Bus with Over 19K Items
Posted on 10/26/2021
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A large group of students holding canned goods in boiler room of schoolIn a year when our local food pantry is on pace to serve far more families than the year prior, the Lakota Board of Education’s “Stuff the Bus” food drive tradition was of critical importance. Students, staff and families answered the call and topped last year’s grand total by 3,000 items. The single largest food drive for Reach Out Lakota brought in approximately 19,500 items, all together weighing in at 15,500 pounds. 


“Year after year, ‘Stuff the Bus’ continues to serve as a reminder that we can do great things together,” said Lakota Board President Kelley Casper. “We are grateful to our students and their families who continue to raise the bar and meet the needs of our community.” 


This is the 14th year that the school board has sponsored the district-wide food drive for Reach Out Lakota, the primary relief organization for families in West Chester and Liberty townships.


“Reach Out Lakota is such a tremendous partner that does so much for our families,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “This was certainly not the year to let up on our usual level of support for Reach Out Lakota and I am so impressed with how our families responded to the challenge.” 


Lakota West High School led the charge this year. The school’s collection accounted for 18 percent of the grand total, an accomplishment that earns them a special visit from Lakota’s traveling therapy dog, Biggs. The school’s freshman campus brought in an additional 2,000 items, with one student single-handedly donating 700 canned goods. 


At Cherokee Elementary School, third-graders in Healther Finn’s and Katherine Oliver’s classes were encouraged by their teachers’ joint offer to match their classes’ grand total. Finn and Oliver filled a grocery cart with hundreds of items and the class learned firsthand the power of teamwork.


“Two is better than one,” said third-grader Evie DeMaris, reflecting on the impact of teaming up with another class. “We helped other people and it made us feel good to do something nice for others at the same time.” 


Next year, the district hopes to return to the friendly crosstown competition that stacks Lakota up against neighboring school districts collecting donations for their own relief organizations. The twist on Lakota’s long-standing tradition has yielded even bigger results positively impacting multiple communities. 


The district-wide food drive is the largest for Reach Out Lakota and comes during its busiest month of the year. In 2020, the organization gave out over 205,000 meals, nearly 80,000 more than the year prior. That’s the equivalent of nearly 250,000 pounds of food valued at over $400,000.