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School canned food drive, Meals of Hope project and meal plea resonate with residents

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For most people, Thanksgiving is synonymous with excess, but it’s also a time when many think of the lesser privileged. It’s the time of the year when food is in the minds of everyone, but not in everyone’s stomachs.

On Marco in the build-up to Thanksgiving, there are three significant food drives – Meals of Hope (see B6 and 7 in Thursday's Sun Times, and also a video and photo gallery at marcoislandflorida.com); Realtor Bill Filbin’s annual plea for reheatable side dishes to take to St. Matthews House in Naples (B2), and also Tommie Barfield Elementary School’s annual canned food drive to benefit the Salvation Army.

Over the past few months, TBE teachers Arlyn Cueto and Mabel Pena have coordinated the drive, which this time around yielded nearly 7,000 cans of food for distribution to the hungry. Students were encouraged to bring in cans as often as possible over that time, and last week the student council had an impromptu handing over ceremony.

Principal Karey Stewart commended the students’ efforts, reiterating that so many families in the area are struggling just to survive.

“Yes, it’s cool and fun to collect them,” Stewart said, “but what you are doing is feeding families. Some of them I know personally … they need the food just to live.”

Cueto too, was happy.

“The whole school did the drive,” she said, “and they did a great job.”

The food is destined to be delivered all over the county.

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