Every year, the Parma City School District comes together to collect canned goods and non-perishable food items for the Parma Hunger Center through the PEA Food Drive.
“What once used to surprise does not anymore,” expressed Will Olexa, Green Valley Elementary teacher and Parma Education Association, or PEA, community relations chair. “Over the many years I have helped with the food drive, there has always been a great outpouring of generosity from the staff, students and families of our PCSD.”
It is estimated that over 5,000 items were collected from buildings across the district and donated to the community on November 12, 2020.
“As before, the PCSD family came through,” he further shared. “The number of donations during such a difficult period of time more than stocked the shelves at the Parma Hunger Center and will go on to help our surrounding families in need for a long time.”
To support the cause, Greenbriar Middle School held a ‘Stuff The Bus’ event on November 10.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GMS wanted to err on the side of caution and make the event one day only,” explained Ryan Olsavsky, an intervention specialist at the school. “We also wanted a way to still have individuals drop donations off but limit the number of individuals within the building, so that’s when our administrators suggested a ‘Stuff The Bus’ event. We were able to donate a total of 70 boxes!”
Thoreau Park Elementary School challenged each grade to donate the most items. The school collected over 630 cans and boxes of food for local families, with 3rd grade named the winning class!
Many schools, like Renwood, Pleasant Valley, Green Valley, Ridge-Brook and Parma Park Elementary Schools, had dedicated drop off days where anyone could donate, while Valley Forge High School generously made monetary donations.
Local PTA units with PEA and PCSD’s Transportation Department also joined in the effort to help those in need with a Stuff the Bus event on November 7 at Byers Field and Pleasant Valley Shopping Center.
“Thank you to everyone who played a part in making this food drive a great success,” Olexa shared. “Thank you to all those who helped collect items, pack items, coordinate collections, donated food or money or time, our teachers, our PTAs, our home liaisons, our principals, our students and all those who I may have forgotten to mention that played a role in this event. A big thank you to my team at the hunger center that tirelessly unloaded cars and sorted items for hours. The combination of teachers, PTA representatives, and hunger center volunteers was yet another amazing show of care and teamwork.”