Jackson students collect 64,000 food items for Salvation Army

JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – Organizing a massive food drive before the holiday break is a Thanksgiving tradition at Jackson High School.

“When you come here and see how much work has been put in, it’s so inspiring,” said student Olivia White.

It’s called Thanksgiving Giving.

For Jackson High students, it’s the culmination of months of hard work after raising money and collecting food to help the local Salvation Army feed hungry families over the holidays.

“Kids pull out of their own money. It is just running from a lot of different places,” said Barbara Baird-Pauli, principal of Jackson High.

Tuesday morning, students saw the fruits of their labor as they filled the school’s field house to pack up 64,000 food items for the Salvation Army.

“Every single thing in here is going to a family in Jackson,” said Ross Anderson, corps officer at the Jackson Salvation Army.

Organizers of the food drive say they hope this shows students how easy it is to make a difference in their community.

“Ultimately, what I want them to take from it is compassion towards people outside of themselves and to take this to maybe a school they might teach in, a business they might become apart of,” Baird-Pauli said.

“It just goes to show you that it doesn’t matter what age you are, it’s just part of being human wanting to help other people, regardless of what their circumstance is. And that’s what I see in a lot of the kids over here,” Anderson said.

Jackson’s mayor-elect Derek Dobies spoke with students before they packed up the donations.

Dobies says he’s working with the school district to harness this community spirit.

“Take some of the great talent, great ideas, energy that we saw here in the field house into city hall and use that to help rebuild our city,” Dobies said.

Olivia White says the food drive has taught fellow students about the needs of their neighbors.

“I think we should do more of this. I really enjoyed it,” White said.

Baird-Pauli says an additional 1,000 food items will be purchased after proceeds come in from a planned special event at the high school, eventually bringing the grant total to 65,000 items collected.


JACKSON, Mich – This is a big day at Jackson High School.

This is the day when the students hold their annual “Thanksgiving Giving” event.

It’s a massive food drive that students and staff put together before Thanksgiving.

Students collect food and donations to purchase food.

The food items are then donated to the local Salvation Army and distributed to families over the holidays.

This year they collected 64,000 food items, just about covering the gymnasium floor.

Students packed up trucks full of the donations to send to the Salvation Army.

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