The idea of making the "Stuff the Civic" food drive an annual event came even before the first one was held, according to Jessica Chandler, a senior at Jamestown High School and president of the student council
"We hope this is the first of a tradition," she said during the planning stages of the project. "We hope it becomes a new tradition for the student council to go beyond planning homecoming and snow week."
The first time anything new is tried there are some unknowns to work through. Chandler said they took that into account.
"We'd be happy with a 1,000 pounds or even 2,000 pounds," she said, as the food was being gathered on Dec. 20. "Anything over 1,000 pounds, we can be proud of."
The work of the students spelled a 65-foot long "J" on the Jamestown Civic Center floor on Dec. 20 with an estimated 3,000 items of food and other nonperishable items for the local food banks.
Students took on the responsibility for promotion through conventional and social media, placing and gathering collection boxes and ultimately the final collections, sorting and distribution at the Jamestown Civic Center.
"They did all the work," said Ken Gardner. faculty adviser to the Jamestown High School Student Council. "They come up with projects and I say 'give it a shot.' It is nice to see they are willing to put in the work."
Chandler said the student effort was aided by community support.
"We received a lot of support from the community," she said. "A lot of shares (on Facebook) and the newspaper and radio stations all were willing to help."
Ashlyn Schauer, a member of the Jamestown High School Student Council and one of the event organizers, said the idea was to do a community project that involved more than just students.
"We are working to go beyond the high school," she said. "Let's get the community involved and everyone has been super helpful."
Chandler said the project is a departure from normal student council activities that include things like planning homecoming and other student activities. The organizers of the 2019 Stuff the Civic compiled notes of what worked and what didn't for future student councils to build on.
Ultimately, the group received the support of Jamestown High School and Middle School, St. John's Academy and numerous businesses and organizations around the community.
Food collected during the Stuff the Civic food drive was planned to be distributed to the food pantries at the Jamestown Middle and Senior High schools as well as the Salvation Army and Community Action food pantries.