Coweta County schools raise over 180,000 food items

The spirit of giving could be seen throughout Coweta County schools as the holidays approached. Students raised more than 180,000 food items or cash equivalents for this year’s Coweta County Can-A-Thon sponsored by the Newnan Junior Service League. The items collected will be distributed to needy families by the Coweta Community Food Pantry.

School system spokesman Dean Jackson said Lee Middle school students continued a tradition of raising the most items. In the friendly competition between Coweta’s elementary, middle and high schools, Lee came out on top, with 30,192 food items or cash equivalent raised to meet the needs of the community through the Coweta Food Pantry, Jackson said.

“I am proud of the School of Champions.  Our students and teachers did an outstanding job as usual,” said Lee Principal Bob Heaberlin. Lee has held first place among Coweta schools for several years in the annual Can-A-Thon drive.

More than a dozen schools raised food and cash donations equivalent to 4,000 or more items during this year’s Can-A-Thon. They included:

-Lee Middle - 30,192 items raised

-Smokey Road Middle - 20,304

-Newnan High - 17,800

-East Coweta High - 16,944

-Brooks Elementary  - 12,481

-Madras Middle - 9,103

-Newnan Crossing Elementary - 8,055

-Atkinson Elementary - 5,727

-Poplar Road Elementary - 5,309

-Northgate High - 5,021

-Canongate Elementary - 4,867

-Arnall Middle - 4,636

-Jefferson Parkway Elementary - 4,336

In all, 182,400 items were collected by students and teachers for the 2012 Can-A-Thon.  Coweta County schools and supporting families have long been a major supporter of the community food drive, providing the largest share of the donations during the annual drive.

“On behalf of the Coweta Community Food Pantry, I would like to thank you all for your continued support, and especially for the effort put forth this year,” said Coweta Food Pantry director Derinda Rowe, to Coweta’s schools. “Your contributions will provide food for struggling families for many months.”

Newnan High School teacher and student government advisor Chris Cain worked with students to coordinate Newnan High’s Can-A-Thon drive this year. 

“Near the beginning of our efforts, we took the student government officers to the food pantry for a first-hand look at how it works and what they need,” said Cain. “The officers then produced a video of their experience that was shown throughout the school on our video-over-IP system. Our biggest event, the Powder Puff football game, raised over $2,000 in admissions, concessions, and voting for the Powder Puff ‘King.’ We also had weekly school-wide cookie drawings and various class-level activities such as bake sales and ‘Penny Wars.’”

East Coweta High School students raised a good bit of their school donations through a faculty-student basketball game and competition between classes for the most items raised, said Jackson.
Other Coweta schools followed similar in-school drives, contests and fund-raisers to help support his year’s efforts, Jackson said, adding that Brooks Elementary competed with much larger schools in their totals, with over 12,000 items collected.

“There was just a strong drive at our school from our families and students,” said Brooks Principal Julie Raschen. “Our school held a fundraiser where children and staff could wear their PJs to school for a donation of three cans or a dollar. But our biggest donations came from parents who matched their child’s donations.  For example, the Ward Family matched dollar for dollar what their children, Abbigail and Chapman, donated. This family donated over $150 alone.”