For the last week, the students at Bluffs Middle School have been collecting and bringing in non-perishable food items. On Friday morning, the students gathered up the items they collected and delivered them across the street to St. Agnes Church.

“They (the students) have done this for years,” Pam Elledge, the coordinator of Valley Christian Neighbors in Need, said after watching the students bring the food to the church. “They do a wonderful, wonderful job. “

The students set a goal of collecting 1,000 cans, BMS media specialist Erin Shaddick said.

At the beginning of their first period on Friday, Nov. 22, the students delivered 2,323 food items to the church.

“There is so much,” BMS eighth grader Nevaeh Hraska said. She and the other members of the Service Cats moved the items their classmates brought to a storage room.

“This is great,” she said.

The food items will be added to other donations from others and groups around the community, then given out to those in need.

Food will be divided out, boxed up and given out to families taking part in the Gift of Love program, Elledge said. A turkey and other perishables will be added, along with enough groceries for at least a week. The boxes will be delivered before Christmas.

What is left over will be donated to area food pantries.

“It is an ongoing help, I would say (all the food donated before Christmas) will continue to help people through spring,” she said.

The students kept coming, carrying food to donate. When one group of students finished making their donations there was, sometimes, a short break before another class arrived.

“I am really proud of our kids,” Shaddick said. “They are so generous.”

The generosity goes beyond the BMS students, Elledge said. Other schools will be and are collecting food items. Names are being drawn off the Gift of Love Tree at First State Bank.

“We have such a generous community.”

All the food items collected and delivered by the students will be added to the gifts collected to help improve this year’s holiday season for many local families in need.

If anyone wants to help they can pick a name off the Gift of Love Tree at First State Bank. They can also bring coats, toys and other items to the Truck of Love in First State Bank’s parking lot on Wednesday, Nov. 27.

“I want to say thank you to these students and to our community (for their generosity),” Elledge said.

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