EAST MACHIAS, Maine — The Fort O’Brien Elementary School may have just 41 students, but on Tuesday they made a huge impact in Washington County. Seven students, who had been going door to door in Machiasport for the past three weeks, delivered 1,001 cans of food that will be shared by Washington County food pantries.
The children ranged in age from 6 to 14.
“We had a system,” Dylan Nevala, 12, explained. With parent Jodi Sprague driving the car, Nevala would open the car doors; Garret Sprague, 6, knocked on doors; Harmony Look, 12, and Ashley Douglass, 11, handed out fliers; and Mark Sprague, 10, carried the canned goods.
Jodi Sprague explained that any money donated was used to buy cases of canned goods.
A second car was driven by Mary Hinerman with students Amber Sprague, 12, and Danny Miller, 14.
“This really made me feel good,” Mark Sprague said.
“Kids really want to help if there are adults around to direct them,” Shaylee Look of the Washington County Food and Fuel Alliance said. They may not be aware of the statewide need for food resources, she said, but they certainly know who in their school or classroom needs help.
As a steady rain fell Tuesday morning, the students carried their donations into the SuperTEK facility in East Machias, one of 22 collection points countywide for the Washington County Food and Fuel Alliance’s spring drive. SuperTEK provides benefit services for civilian personnel within the U.S. Navy.
Site manager Eileen Robinson, standing in a lobby full of canned vegetables, boxes of pasta and jars of gravy, jam and spices, said the experience has been extremely rewarding. Earlier this month, students from Calais Elementary dropped off 250 cans and Harrington Elementary students donated 546 cans.
The total number of boxes and cans at SuperTEK on Tuesday was 2,793 — with 2,410 of the items coming from local schools. The rest has been donated by SuperTEK employees.
“I had no idea how great the need is until I got involved with this project,” she said. “I learned that a little food can go a long, long way when distributed by the food pantries, and in Washington County, the need is great.”
The goal of the drive, which ends this weekend, is 6,000 cans and $6,000. SuperTEK has offered to match each can of food donated with $1. The food and funds will be shared by the 12 food pantries in Washington County. Prizes will be given to the school that has collected the most cans. Awards will be made in early June.
Donations may always be delivered to any local food pantry or to SuperTEK, located on Route 1 in East Machias.