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Food For Friends still going strong 11/11/21

‘Food For Friends’ still going strong 

By Kevin Taylor 

Alma Schools 


Somewhere tonight, someone isn’t getting enough to eat. It’s a common cycle played out across the world. 


Alma High School is doing its best to alter the course locally. 


Tuesday, Alma Athletic Director Doug Loughridge piggy-backed on science teacher Jerry Don Kelley’s dream by having those attending the Green & Gold Basketball Showcase to bring canned foods. 


Some brought money, too. 


The idea to collect food for the needy came about in 2017, Kelley said. 


“In 2017, students in my ACT Prep Class were looking for ways to volunteer within the community,” he explained. “We talked about developing a program that could benefit the community. “Food For Friends” was developed.


“Since then, they have graduated and moved on with their post-high school endeavors, and “Foods For Friends” is still going strong.”


The idea of giving back leaves everyone happy, from those giving to those in need of help. 


“Anytime you can do something nice for someone, it feels rewarding,” Kelley said. “The need is real. You look at pre-COVID vs. now, and the need has increased. Students and members of the community that have donated items are doing a great service to those in our community that is having a rough time right now.”


Wednesday, Kelley had students wheel Tuesday’s gifts from the basketball arena to his room in preparation for next week’s haul. Kelley makes it a point to have “Food For Friends” students distribute the goods to local outdoor pantries and others in need. 


“The donations are really threefold,” Kelley said. “We have the items in our food boxes that will be available for our backpack program students, PSC students, and others that have a need. We will be stocking outdoor food pantries around town once a week through the end of the semester. 


“Any leftover items will be donated to the Alma Community Outreach Center.”


Tuesday’s collaboration with the Green & Gold Basketball Showcase made it even better.


“This year has been a little different,” Kelley said. “We have partnered with our athletic department and had the first annual Green & Gold Basketball Showcase. The can food admission was a huge success. We have teachers doing class collections, too. As a school and community, we are coming together to provide a service to those in need this holiday season. It is a total team effort.


“The thing is, most of us will never see the results of our labor. That's ok. It's not about us. It's about fulfilling a need for others.”