Woodstock Elementary students stack up Cans for Cocoa
Woodstock Elementary students last year participated in its “Cans for Cocoa,” which the students received hot chocolate after bringing in food donations for those in need. (Woodstock Elementary)
By Julie Slama | firstname.lastname@example.org
Giving Woodstock Elementary students some hot chocolate on a wintery day was a way to thank students for donating canned food to the Utah Food Bank.
In its fifth year, the Cans for Cocoa now is earmarked for their sister school, Lincoln Elementary in Salt Lake City, to help stock their food pantry for low-income and refugee students, said Marci Olson, who is Woodstock Elementary’s Parent-Teacher Association president.
“It’s incredible to see how many donations come in and it’s fun for the kids to stack them up and see what a difference they’re making in people’s lives,” Olson said.
This year, students will be asked to bring in food contributions on Dec. 8. Students with donations will load the cans into a trailer during lunch and afterward, the PTA will give all 450 students hot cocoa along with peppermint sticks and whipped cream.
“Although the kids are excited about the hot cocoa incentive, they know it’s about helping and talk about that each year,” she said.
Olson said the idea started with former Parent-Teacher Association President Carolyn Linthrost.
“Carolyn thought it would be a good opportunity for our kids to reach out and share with those in need in our community. Last year, we tied it into Granite School Foundation’s Souper Bowl of Caring campaign, which helps serve students in need in Granite School District. This year, we’re reaching out to Lincoln Elementary students,” she said.
Woodstock Elementary became a sister school to Lincoln Elementary last year and have since given the 530 students coats, hats, clothes, books and toys.
“A lot of our kids like the idea of giving to other kids. They’ll be connected now before most of them meet up in ninth grade when they go to Cottonwood High School. We’re really their peers. Most of our families are so blessed and we have more than enough so it’s our responsibility to share with these students and their families in our community,” Olson said.
She said that much of the donation requests are food items students can prepare such as Easy Mac for the microwave or fruit with pull tab tops. Donations of non-perishable food with protein also are requested.
“Some of these kids are having to fix meals for their families so we’re trying to make it a little easier for them. They’re dealing with issues many of our children aren’t aware of. They may miss meals and most of our students aren’t in that situation or having to address that issue,” she said.
Olson plans to show students a video that will talk about the need at Lincoln Elementary The video will show Woodstock students a tour of the school and the pantry where the food will go and it also will let Lincoln Elementary students thank Woodstock Elementary students.
“We want to teach our students about others and to look outside of themselves. This will help them realize that they can help — even a single donation can make a difference,” Olson said.