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Community High School Receives the Community Gatherers Award at the Food Gatherers Spring Gathering

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Community High School Receives the Community Gatherers Award at the Food Gatherers Spring Gathering

Community High School students and staff receive their award during the ceremony at the Food Gatherers Spring Gathering 2016.

Community High School students and staff receive their award during the ceremony at the Food Gatherers Spring Gathering 2016.

Community High School students and staff receive their award during the ceremony at the Food Gatherers Spring Gathering 2016.

Community High School students and staff receive their award during the ceremony at the Food Gatherers Spring Gathering 2016.

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Tracy Anderson and Anne Thomas first contacted Mary Schlitt in 2009 and requested that she speak to the students at Community High School about alleviating hunger, which is what Food Gatherers is all about. Now, every year two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, the some 500 students of Community High School attend a presentation by Schlitt and begin their fundraising efforts. After two weeks during the first year in 2009 the school had raised over $5,000, $2,000 of which were raised by Cody DeVee. Students soon became more efficient in their fundraising. The students started off by selling handmade items, collecting bottles and donating their lunch money and they soon started asking friends and family for donations. Inspired by DeVee, the students became more and more efficient. The students began working with and motivating each other. Among those inspired by DeVee was current senior Dylan Stephens, who single-handedly raised $1,000.

In 2014, when Harold and Kay Peplau offered to match every dollar the students raised, the students got excited and more than doubled the amount of money they were able to raise, bringing in over $12,000. Last year, in 2015 the Peplau’s offered to match donations again, this year up to $50,000. “When the students and staff heard the Peplaus would be matching gifts up to $50,000 for Rockin’ for the Hungry the students got a little crazy,” Schlitt said, “I was scared. They decided to shoot for the moon. They wanted to fully meet the match, so they set their personal goal at $50,000 for Rockin’ for the Hungry, and the results were staggering. They raised more than $32,000 in two weeks towards that $50,000 goal.”

The impressive outcome of Community High School’s fundraising efforts inspired others as well. Halfway through the Rockin’ for the Hungry drive, Food Gatherers decided to move their goal of 750,000 meals to 1,000,000 meals. “In the early efforts of Community High we raised 700 [thousand] meals making Rockin’ for the Hungry 2016 the most successful event in Food Gatherer’s fundraising history,” Schlitt said. By the end of the drive, which lasted from Dec. 1-6, 2015, Food Gatherer’s had raised their ambitious million meal goal.

Community High was one of four groups and individuals to be honored at the Food Gatherers spring gathering on May 3, 2016. Fabian Salinas received the Great Gatherer Award, Community High School received the Community gatherers award, The Kroger Co. of Michigan received the Gatherer of Plenty Award and The Mosaic Foundation of Rita and Peter Heydon received the Gatherer of Distinction Award.

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