With snow falling on the evening of January 11 and donations for a campaign to collect food for the needy at a trickle, Lindale Middle School special education teacher Shawn Wingard and his colleagues who were camping outside the school had reason to be pessimistic.
But by the next evening, as word spread throughout Linthicum and surrounding communities about the Stuff The Truck effort, the pace began to quicken. By the afternoon of January 14, the school had reached its goal: filling a 15-foot moving van generously donated by Penske Truck Rental in just five days. When it was over, the effort resulted in 7,839 pounds of food that was donated to the Anne Arundel County Food and Resource Bank.
“I can’t say enough about our students, parents and staff, and especially about our community,” said Wingard, who, along with social studies teacher Monica Wright helped spearhead the drive. “The entire experience was really heartwarming. It was an unbelievable feeling to see this community come out and support what we were doing to help the less fortunate.”
The donations come at a critical time for the Food Bank. There are several drives, including the Harvest for the Hungry Kids Helping Kids effort in which Anne Arundel County Public Schools participates, held in the weeks leading up to the holidays, but donations drop off dramatically in the weeks after January 1.
Lindale Principal George Lindley said the school has always been fortunate to have a dedicated staff that supports such efforts. But seeing students arrive at school with donations each day and watching his colleagues’ willingness to volunteer to spend nights outside in an effort to entice more donations brought a newfound respect.
“This was truly humbling,” Lindley said. “When we first started talking about this we were hoping for the best. The way everyone pulled together – even in bad weather – to accomplish this goal was incredibly inspiring. Now people are already talking about next year.”