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Coleytown PTA Fosters Giving

Twenty-four boxes of food filled by students and faculty at Coleytown Elementary School were hand-delivered to the Westport Woman's Club Food Closet Friday by PTA members Susan Arrow and Jennifer Kanfer.

All last week, students and faculty filled boxes with a variety of foods as part of the school's annual food drive. The school's PTA Community Outreach Committee, headed by Arrow, Kanfer and Hallie Wofsy, organized the drive.

"We put boxes in each of the classrooms and gave out lists with what the woman's club needed, broken down by grade," said Arrow. "We divided the list by grade so we wouldn't get 200 cans of tuna fish and no mac and cheese, for example."

Unlike previous drives, Arrow said this year's was geared at getting the kids more involved, rather than letting parents do it all.

"We put the boxes in the classrooms so students could see if their box was getting filled or if it was running low," said Arrow. "Some boxes were overfilled, which is great, and some had overflow into bags. It's exciting for [the kids] to see."

To boost participation, Arrow said, the school played a major role. Giving-related books were read in class and food drive-related math problems were aired on the school's TV announcement system.

"This really became a school-wide effort," she said. "The kids felt that they were a part of something big."

Outside of the annual food drive, Kanfer said, "CES has been involved with a variety of community outreach activities for the past 15 years." There have been coat, hat and mitten drives, book drives, backpack and school supply drives, holiday toy drives, and read-a-thons.

Kanfer said many of the events, especially the food drive, foster an important message.

"It helps kids realize not everyone is the same and the importance of helping out," she said.

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