Parker Whitney students Eager to Stamp Out Hunger

By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
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More than a thousand pounds of non-perishable food was donated to local food banks thanks to Parker Whitney Elementary students in Rocklin. For three weeks, the school’s student senate, in cahoots with Rocklin resident Steven Koch with Campbell Soup Company, gathered donated goods such as canned food, cereal and granola bars reaching more than 1,500 items. The children in the student senate sent out fliers to classmates, posted signs around campus and advertised their project during the daily announcements, said sixth-grader Geoffrey Leonhardt, state senate president at Parker Whitney. “We were just looking for kids to participate and help kids in need,” he said. From each canned good, they cut out the label to also participate in Campbell’s Labels for Education, a program that gives out free school supplies in exchange for the proof of purchase of a Campbell-brand product. The labels are then mailed in and used toward the purchase of school supplies such as new computers, Koch said. “It really does benefit the school,” said Parker Whitney teacher Missy Wardlaw. Denny Rush, Parker Whitney Elementary principal said through this food drive, students see a direct connection between service-learning, businesses and schools. Sixth-grader Maeve O’Brien was one of the students organizing the bake sale earlier this month. She said within half an hour on a rainy day, they raised $109 that went toward the purchase of more canned food items. “We had so many volunteers,” O’Brien said. Fifth-grader Aeris Hammock said they gave out sweet incentives of Jolly Ranchers to students who donated goods. “It was good to see how many cans (were donated),” Hammock said. “It was funny to see the smiles on their faces when they couldn’t carry it all.” The school’s donation project was in conjunction with the national campaign, Stamp Out Hunger food drive. The items from Parker Whitney were loaded and brought to Feeding America, a hunger-relief charity. Contact Lauren Weber at