In the fall of 2010, Thomas Jefferson Middle School received a $250 Federal Service Grant. It required that students identify school or community needs and available resources.
That research culminated in Snack Packs, bags of food that will be distributed to several local families in need. Those families, as identified by the Samaritan Center, have students at Thomas Jefferson and will need the assistance when they are out on spring break next week.
Holley Smothers' eighth-grade art students took an online sruvey and with help from the computer class, created a survey collecting student input. After that survey, it was determined that 47 percent of the student body was on the free or reduced lunch program.
At that point, students decided to make snack packs.
The TJMS student council, eighth grade choir and physical education classes hosted a dance-a-thon, collecting $1 per student donation. KJLU 88.9 FM disc jockeys helped make it a party and keep it going as they played music and led students through dance moves.
Art classes became involved through the Empty Bowls, an international project to fight hunger. The week of Valentine's Day, students sold suckers to put toward the food sacks.
HyVee delivered food and reusable bags Wednesday, and students sorted and bagged the items. HyVee donated the bags and $100 toward the goal. The school had enough bags of food to fill the bed of a truck and back seat. Carlos Robinett and Ben DeFeo from the Samaritan Center were on hand to accept the food Thursday and later deliver it.