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Sixth graders from Highlander School delivered nonperishable food items to Feed Lake Highlands Tuesday, the bounty from a schoolwide food drive. Karis Pickens, the nonprofit’s food distribution manager, was on hand to accept the donation and explain to the kids how the goods would be used by low-income neighbors in our community.

“Our families come in once per month to shop, and many are recent arrivals from all over the world,” Pickens said. “They’re especially excited when fresh produce is on the shelves – items like onions and peppers to match the cuisine they recall from home. Donated beans lend themselves to Mexican dishes, and donated rice works for Asian and Mexican recipes. Many of our families haven’t been here that long, so they load up their cart with the fresh fruits and vegetables they are used to. Some things, like peanut butter and cereal, are the mainstays that cross all culture barriers.”

The students were riveted to Pickens’ stories, and they were proud of the impact their contributions will make.

“I feel like our donations of food and paper goods will really help a lot of people,” said Jake Emerson. “I know that if I was in the same situation, I’d want to have lots of different types of food that will fill me up and be healthy. I know these families don’t have a lot. When you do everything you can to help, it makes you feel good.”

Tessa Knotts agreed.

“It feels really good to help the people around you,” she said. “It will make them see there are people who care.”

Ainsley Case stressed the importance of providing healthy options for healthy eating.

“The people who come here are families. We want them to have good, nutritious choices,” she said.

Cole Eadrina found lots of healthy items in the bags he was unpacking. He found a few quirky items, too.

“We had chili, fruits, vegetables and other foods that are good for you. We also had some weird items, like hot chocolate with Lucky Charms marshmallows in it. I think it’s good for people to have variety, and maybe a few treats.”

If you’d like to host your own food drive or purchase items for Feed LH, deliveries are happily accepted each Tuesday from 10-2. Suggested items include canned meat, oil, peanut butter, cereal, green beans, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, dry beans, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, body wash, toothpaste and toothbrushes. You may donate cash online here, and Feed LH will purchase food through their community partners at a discounted rate. Volunteers are desperately needed and may contact Pickens at 214-796-6427 or karisp@feedlakehighlands.com.