Students collect 17,000 items for food pantry
By Scott Bellile
Four schools in Hortonville and Greenville collected nearly 17,000 non-perishable food items and toiletries to keep the shelves stocked at the Hortonville-Dale Food Pantry this holiday season.
Hortonville Middle School, Greenville Middle School, Hortonville Elementary School and Greenville Elementary School collected the items during the Dewey’s Food Drive held from Nov. 9 to Monday, Dec. 14. The food drive is held annually in memory of Dwayne “Dewey” Ashauer, a former Greenville Middle School student who died in a farm accident at age 13 in 2007.
Hortonville Middle School Principal Steve Gromala, Greenville Middle School Principal Travis Lawrence and Greenville Elementary School Principal David Harris will sleep on the roof of Hortonville Middle School on Tuesday, Dec. 22, as their way of thanking the students for supporting the food pantry. Gromala said the district plans to set up a live stream so the community can watch the three principals brave the cold.
The nearly 17,000 items collected tops the previous record of about 12,500 items that Greenville schools amassed during the 2013-2014 academic year food drive. The two Hortonville schools joined the food drive this year to help that number climb.
“While our goal was 20,000 food items, 17,000 is still terrific and will certainly help the Hortonville-Dale Food Pantry during a time of need,” Gromala said.
“There’s 200 to 300 families that utilize that food pantry over the holiday season,” Lawrence said, “and Hortonville Area Schools is the largest contributor to the pantry around this time of year, so it’s good to know that we’re helping in a large way for all these families.”
Lawrence predicted mild weather on the roof next week, but he plans to set up a tent and sleep in a warm sleeping bag and maybe ice fishing gear to keep warm. The principals might play cribbage and listen to Christmas music up there, he said.
“Students and families are welcome to stop by over the course of the evening to say hello,” Gromala said. “Warm coffee and hot chocolate are appreciated.”
As an added reward for the food drive participation, 10 students who donated 10 or more items were randomly drawn from each school to enjoy a pizza party with the principals on Dec. 22 before they climb the roof.