Canned goods overflow one local elementary school as they plan to help others during the holidays.
Marlow Elementary participated in their annual Samaritan canned food drive to put food on the table of those who need it.
Kim Kizarr, Principal at Marlow Elementary, said she continues to be amazed by the students and families with giving hearts.
“Every year I say there is no way we will top that food drive and every year I continue to be amazed by our students and their families’ giving hearts,” Kizarr said.
The school completed their annual Samaritan canned food drive earlier this year to ensure they were able to complete it as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to linger.
“We put out a list of needed items for the Christmas baskets and then put out a challenge for two weeks,” Kizarr said. “The one class out of 34 that brings the most items will win a pizza party.”
The school challenged one another to bring in items needed.
“The last few years we have included $1 = 1 item, which helps the Samaritans buy items for the food baskets that they might not receive,” Kizarr said. “This year I was a bit worried about what the drive would look like due to being in November and the pandemic.”
According to Kizarr, the students and their families rose to the occasion.
“We had amazing participation,” Kizarr said. “We had 7,634 items brought and $2,335 donated.”
Cricket Holland, from Samaritans, said they are grateful for all which was brought in during the drive.
“The kids would bring their change and put it in a bottle everyday and bring canned goods,” Holland said.
This food drive has occurred for several years with Marlow Samaritans.
“For us, as the Marlow Samaritans, they do this every year and have for several years,” Holland said. “The high school also has a competition and the high school raised over 2,200 cans of food for us.”
Several of the schools in Marlow got involved and provided food for their pantry.
“We couldn’t put on our annual Christmas food boxes without the support that we get from the Marlow Elementary, our middle school and our high school kids, we just couldn’t do it,” Holland said. “What they do provides enough food for families to kind of have a supply in their pantries, the whole month and into January, because we don’t give out again until the end of January. Couldn’t do it without them.”
Holland said it’s a privilege and a joy to get to help so many people with the hardship placed on so many families.
“When you add up over 10,000 cans of canned goods and we know we’re going to have at least 300 families,” Holland said. “What we try to do is provide enough meals for them — about 40 to 42 meals are in those boxes.”
Holland said they will give out the food on Dec. 19 to families.
“Our community rallies behind us and rallies behind the families who are in great need,” Holland said.
According to Holland, The Marlow Samaritans was formed exactly 40 years ago.
“It started out helping people with utilities, food got added into it gradually, we also do Christmas toys — then about 14 years ago, maybe 15 the food part really took off,” Holland said.
According to Holland, the food for the project was stored at the home of Bill Carter in the beginning stages.
After doing Thanksgiving for a while, the group went to doing Christmas boxes.
From outgrowing the Marlow grade school cafeteria to put boxes together, the First Baptist Church opened up their Life Center for the past 10 years.
“In 2010, a building was purchased for us, enlarging our pantry,” Holland said. “Then partnering with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, we were able to purchase things … at a reduced price through them.”
Those in need of a basket can sign up beginning Saturday, Nov. 28. Sign ups run through Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Due to COVID-19, those who have signed up will be able to drive thru and pick up their box and go.
Marlow Samaritans is located at 214 West Main.