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Menahga Schools double donations to food shelf during annual food drive

Menahga second graders, back from left, Nash Selander and Brett Pinoniemi, front, Annika Aho and Alyssa Peterson helped weigh the food before sending it to the food shelf Friday. (Riham Feshir / Enterprise)

Menahga Elementary and High Schools raised a total of $2,375 plus 1,516 pounds of nonperishable food items during the 11th annual food drive last week.

The National Honor Society almost doubled its donations this year, while the elementary contributed about 80 percent of the food items.

More people are currently visiting the food shelf and some are students or friends and families of Menahga students, said elementary food drive organizer Michelle Castren.

"If anything, their giving has been more personal this year than before," she said.

In addition to the food drive that Menahga School holds every March, students, staff and teachers decided to increase the giving in other ways.

They had a "Fat Free February" or a month-long weight loss competition, said author of the idea and NHS advisor Jennifer Farnam.

A $2 weekly fee was required to join and participants were broken up into teams.

At the end of each week, the team who lost the least amount of weight had to contribute $5.

Besides coming up with something to do in a dull winter, "Fat Free February" raised $300 for the Menahga Food Shelf.

"We've been cognitive of how low food shelves are right now," Farnam said. "We did this knowing that they're in need."

Another project that's intended to help donate up to $1,000 for the food shelf is the "Empty Bowls Project" organized by the art department and NHS students.

Guests who are planning to attend Fine Arts Night Thursday can still purchase empty ceramic bowls for $10 each.

"NHS has always done a food drive in March, but we tried to push it up a little this year," Farnam said.