CALUMET CITY | Members of an in-class club at Thornton Fractional North High School went grocery shopping Wednesday as part of a project to supply the local food pantry that serves the south suburb.
About 22 students who are members of the Meteor Saviors club spent their morning shopping for nonperishable food at Aldi, 1490 Torrence Ave.
Then, they traveled by school bus to the Calumet City Resource Center, 202 155th Place, which operates a food pantry for needy Calumet City residents.
Those students helped the center’s staff sort through their purchases. The Resource Center also received a contribution Wednesday from the Greater Chicago Food Depository, which supplements food pantries across Cook County.
Mark McDaniel, a T.F. North teacher who oversees the club, said the project not only benefits the food pantry, but also helps teach the students about such life experiences as shopping.
“Shopping for food, spending money, the whole social dynamic is an experience they gain from this,” he said.
The students who participated in Wednesday’s project raised money from a raffle they conducted last week. They offered tickets to the performance this weekend of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the United Center in Chicago. Students were asked to donate their spare change or make a donation of at least five canned goods.
McDaniel said the raffle raised about $200. Along with some other private contributions, the students had a few hundred dollars to spend on groceries, which they used to purchase about 700 items ranging from canned vegetables to pasta noodles to packaged tortillas.
Students in the Meteor Saviors club have been making this pre-Thanksgiving shopping trip for five years now, and McDaniel said they have been able to donate about 4,000 nonperishable food items to the Resource Center’s food pantry and other organizations throughout the years.
Dorie Schauer, a volunteer at the center, said the students’ contribution will make a significant impact on the amount of food it will be able to offer Calumet City residents.
The demand for such contributions usually increases around holidays, and Schauer said the Resource Center has had more than 60 families per day asking for help.
The center offers up bags of food that have been pre-sorted to include a variety of food items ranging from canned vegetables, pasta noodles and sauce, along with macaroni and cheese. Schauer said that in the bags being distributed prior to Thanksgiving, there also will be some sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce.