By Herb Meeker
News Report Staff
Teutopolis Grade School students were busy last Thursday hauling and stacking boxes of food items in the cafeteria.
The fifth graders were not offering help on school chores. They were pitching in to help out with a food drive supporting Effingham Catholic Charities.
The grand total collected at TGS was 6,847 items, including cans, boxes, bags and even water bottles. A similar drive was conducted at Teutopolis Junior High School.
TGS teacher Wendy Kreke was ramrodding the effort with the help of other staff members. The collection covered about three weeks.
The annual food drive fires up Teutopolis students in different ways. At the grade school, the students were eagerly waiting to hear the classroom collection totals. The winning classroom earned a pizza party for their efforts.
There was a loud cheer from Jessica Shackmann’s classroom when they were announced over the public address speakers as the top drive collectors.
Teutopolis Junior High students learn about the importance of the annual food drive when a representative of the local Catholic Charities comes to the school to explain how the school’s efforts help out the needy.
“Teutopolis has always been very generous for the holidays with food donations,” said Sister Carol Beckermann of Catholic Charities.
That generosity provides food for distribution from Dec. 1-20 through the Christmas Store project in conjunction with FISH in Effingham and Second Hand Rose. In addition to food, the Christmas Store program offers coats, hats, gloves, toys, gift stockings, wrapping paper and other Christmas items to the needy.
Distributions will be conducted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Catholic Charities facility along U.S. Route 40, while Agracel will be the location handling FISH Christmas Store distributions to the those in need on Dec. 9 and 10.
Persons qualified can apply with FISH through forms available at different locations. Vouchers for Catholic Charities can be obtained at the organization’s office.
The students’ efforts offer some Christmas cheer to people of need in the county. It is a good lesson in giving right before Thanksgiving each year.
The St. Anthony High School History Club students offered some help to younger veterans in the area. St. Anthony instructor Julie Thoele said the club collected six boxes of diapers, wipes, baby wash, bibs and clothing for the New Baby for the VA Drive.
The effort was assisted by the Effingham Quilt Guild with members’ donations of baby quilts.