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Penndale Donates 2,929 Cans to Manna on Main

The math classes at the Lansdale middle school know that Food + Donations = Happiness

Food + Donating = Happiness.

This was one equation that 26 Penndale Middle Schoolers will remember for life, following their delivery of more than 2,900 canned goods to Manna on Main Street Friday morning.

"Throughout the school, all math classes did a canned food drive," said Sara Heil, Penndale eighth grade math teacher. "We made bar graphs for each of the classes and each student filled in one box per can, to see which class could bring in the most. The winning class is the second-period class. They brought in 234 cans. My five classes overall brought in 825 cans. Overall, for all three grades, they brought in 2,929 cans. We filled 67 boxes and brought them over in four vehicles."

Heil said it started 11 years ago with just her math classes. oon, the rest of the eighth grade was on board. This year was the first year where the entire school pitched in, she said.

"We got lots of cans, and hopefully, they will go to people that need them," said eighth grader Zach McCusker.

"We're beasts!" said eighth grader Jeremy Prince of the donation effort.

Teacher Stephanie Le said students had to fill in bar graphs as the donations piled up. They asked family and friends to help donate toward the cause.

One student, Katelynn Julius, an eighth grader, donated 99 cans.

"It's awesome," said Julius said. "I like how you get to come here and see it."

Le said the donation drive was part of the school's Service Learning Committee initiative. Recently, students in ninth grade held a Toys for Tots schoolwide drive.

"We get students to be involved, so it's not just a competition to them," Le said. "They can observe and see what they are doing for the community."

Manna community coordinator Kristyn Didominick said the donated food is critical to Manna's clientele from the North Penn School District region.

"We are delighted you donated so much," Didominick said. "We definitely love our volunteers, and them bringing in more volunteers to help is so cool."

Right now, Manna is in need of three food items: cereal, peanut butter and past sauce.

"You brought in a lot of canned goods and they will definitely be used," said Manna executive director Suzan Gould to the students. "Our families need the same stuff your families need."

Gould said the 2,929 cans would all be gone within a month. She said about 53 pounds of canned goods are taken per household per visit to Manna. 

That's up from 37 pounds, Didominick said.

"They go quickly," she said. "It's an extraordinary gift to help our clients through the winter days."

"It's a shot in the arm when we need it," Gould added.

The students were able to get a tour of the entire Manna office, kitchen and pantry. A couple of them will be coming back as volunteers.

"I want to volunteer here," said Emily Blase. "I was inspired when I saw the food that's been donated already."

"The people here seem so nice and kind," said Bailey Pavlichko. "Many people are grateful for others that donate here."

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