The Pine Bluff Corps of the Salvation Army received a donation Friday of more than 1,300 canned goods collected by the students of Belair Middle School in the Pine Bluff School District.
The fact that it was also Valentine’s Day was a reality not lost on those involved.
“We thought it was the perfect day to do it,” Belair Principal Suzette Bloodman said. “I am extremely proud of our school family; they really rose to the occasion. I tell them that no matter what their situation is they can always do something for someone else.”
Student Council President Zariah Flucker was a driving force in rallying her classmates, according to Bloodman.
“Zariah brought in more than 100 cans herself,” Bloodman said.
Salvation Army Captain David Leonard expressed a multifaceted sense of gratitude.
“Their donation really impacts me personally and the Salvation Army on a lot of different levels,” Leonard said. “Just knowing that young people at that age are being taught and really working hard to give back to the community is tremendously encouraging. On the practical side, having food to distribute when people come to ask for help is tremendously helpful.”
Leonard said the example being set for the sixth- and seventh-graders at Belair by their principal is a crucial step in strengthening the community.
“Teaching these young people to give to the community and give service is every bit as important as receiving the donation itself,” Leonard said. “To be able to shift the focus from yourself to others is really so important.”
Bloodman said the students were told they would be rewarded with the spectacle of social studies teacher Bud Hamley kissing a pig if they raised 1,500 cans of food.
“Since they raised 1,300 cans we rewarded the students with a sixth-grade assembly and a seventh-grade assembly where Mr. Hamely was hit in the face both times with a cream pie by our student council president. Mr. Hamley is a first year teacher and he is a real team player.”