Feeding those in need: WHS senior raises 5,800 items during school food drive

By Mandy Mahan

Jaqobie Griffith, a Wabash High School senior, recently surpassed his personal record of amount of food and money donated during the school’s annual food drive, which collects and donates food and personal wellness items to local food pantry, F.I.S.H.

Griffith, who has been participating in the drive since his freshman year collected and donated 5,800 items as well as $300, all of which he either bought with his own money or accepted from friends and family who wanted to help out as well. Many donations were dropped off at his parent’s store, Thriftalicious, in downtown Wabash.

In previous years, majority of the money spent on items was my own, but this year we received numerous donations, monetary and item wise,” Griffith told The Paper of Wabash County. “People would either PayPal or Venmo my parents, drop off cash, or drop off their items to the store or have them delivered. Most of the items came from the store but some were from people’s stock piles they had already accumulated. We received donations from as far as California and Kansas.”

In total, Griffith collected and donated the following:

Two boxes of miscellaneous food, 100 jars of peanut butter, 415 shampoos, soaps, toothpastes and toothbrushes, 425 cans of soup, beans, and canned meat, 550 cans of vegetables, and 4,350 individual packs of Ramen, noodles, and mac and cheese.

“I have a big passion for helping the community and when I entered high school and heard about the food drive it seemed like an awesome opportunity to do what I love,” said Griffith.

As a reward for donating, the school was offering king size candy bars for every 100 items brought in. In similar giving fashion, Griffith requested that the school take the money they would have spent on candy bars for him and donate it instead.

Janet Shoue, director of F.I.S.H told The Paper that the pantry needs many of the same items during the holiday season as normal.

   “We can always use canned meats, canned fruits, macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables and canned soups,” she said.

“We also give out personal hygiene items like, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, tooth brushes, toilet paper. Anything that someone is willing to donate we can probably give away.”

F.I.S.H. is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Donations can be dropped off any time the facility is open. Monetary donations can be mailed to F.I.S.H., P.O. Box 195, Wabash.

Anyone is interested in donating their time, can call at 260-563-5151.

Along with F.I.S.H., other local pantries and soup kitchens are gearing up for the holiday and winter season and are looking for donations, whether that be time, money, or items.

Beverly Ferry, Chief Executive Officer of Living Well in Wabash County told The Paper that the Community Cupboard is looking for some donations of traditional holiday meal items including stuffing mix, cans of sweet potato, corn, green beans, and applesauce.

“The children are home more and so items like peanut butter and jelly, cereal, canned pasta, canned fruit and vegetables are helpful.  People always need household basics such as dish soap, laundry detergent, cleaning products, facial tissue, toilet paper, and trash bags,” said Ferry.

Community Cupboard is also in need of volunteers to help unload and sort deliveries on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 9 a.m.

To donate money to Community Cupboard, a check can be mailed to Living Well in Wabash County CoA, Inc., P.O. Box 447, 239 Bond Street, Wabash, or call 260-563-4475 to set up a time to drop off monetary or food donations.

Also, in need of donations is Helping Hands of Wabash County, also looking for donations of traditional holiday meal food items, toiletries and self-care products.

Helping Hands will be serving a Thanksgiving meal to those in need on Saturday, Nov. 21. This meal will be handed out in a carry-out fashion. Families in need of more than one meal should call ahead at 260-563-8775 so the meals can be ready.

Helping Hands will also have a Christmas meal on Dec. 19 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

For questions or information on how to donate or take advantage of the soup kitchen, call 260-563-8775.

Posted on 2020 Nov 17