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NBC15 recognizes outstanding school partners for Share Your Holidays

Mauston High School, Madison Country Day School, Hickory Hill Academy and Edgewood High School have all gone above and beyond
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 8:42 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 3, 2021 at 5:33 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - NBC15 is launching the 26th Share Your Holidays Campaign on Wednesday by highlighting some area schools that play a major part in helping feed families in need every year.

There are Share Your Holidays food donation barrels in more than 60 locations across Dane County, where donors can drop-off non-perishable food items for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin.

Four top contributors to the food barrel drives are Mauston High School, Madison Country Day School, Hickory Hill Academy and Edgewood High School.

Every year for the past decade, Mauston High School’s Key Club hosts a week-long food drive to raise money and food for Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin and the Community Sharing Pantry.

“I really like playing a big part like involving in the community and this is one of the ways I can through school and through Key Club. It really means a lot to me and it feels good inside when I do it,” said student Eli Boppart.

Each homeroom class competes to see which can gather the most food and money. The winner gets the prized “food drive belt” and bragging rights for the year.

“It’s amazing when you give young people the opportunity to serve and to lead their communities it is amazing what they’re able to accomplish and get involved in and so they care, they really do,” said MHS Teacher & Key Club advisor, Molly Carlson.

“Everyone’s in it. We take time out of our day, teachers do, students do, just to compete and put up food. It’s a big competition but we at the end of the day we love knowing that we’re helping our community,” said student Noah Kratochvil.

For the last few years the Bank of Mauston has agreed to match what the high schools raises. In 2020, MHS raised what equates to 61,000 pounds of food.

“All these parents and like community members will come and support us for like sporting events or things like that and I think any small way we can give back to them, even if it’s just like a can of food, is like really beneficial to them,” said student Jaelee Fleming.

Another top contributor over the last decade or so is Madison Country Day School. MCSD hosts a big assembly to kick off the food drive each November.

Each student gets a bag to try and fill with food to donate to the cause. All grades compete to see which one can bring in the most food.

“It feels really good to come together as like a grade or a class or even just a school in general and it feels really good to be more privileged members of the community, being able to give back in such an amazing way,” said senior at MCDS, Hunter Stephenson.

According to Second Harvest, MCDS has donated nearly 35,000 pounds of food since 2006. MCDS Primary Years Program Coordinator, Kristina Luedtke, said students and families never cease to surpass their expectations.

“It’s so great to walk in and see these barrels overflowing after a few weeks of the drive going on and we seem to always manage to collect a lot and be part of the top schools, which feels great to be able to be able to help others,” said Luedtke.

“Our mission at Hickory Hill Academy is cultivating compassionate leaders,” said associate director Heather Dahl.

The students at Hickory Hill in Madison on South High Point Road may be small -- but their desire to help their community is mighty.

“We have a competitive group around here so of our 14 classrooms, they set a goal and try to bring in as much food as they can and they generally meet or exceed it,” said Dahl.

Dahl says the roughly 300 students and their parents love to donate to the cause.

“While Hickory Hill is our home and a place where we grow and learn, there is also this world outside of us and so how can we find ways to reach out to each other and really lend a hand to each other,” said Dahl.

Hickory Hill has been donating to Share Your Holidays since 1999. Since then, they’ve collected more than 18,000 pounds of food for those in need.

“It’s been something that is really meaningful to our mission and vision here at our school and our students get really pumped up about it,” added Dahl.

With 10 total barrels on campus, Edgewood High School in Madison, requested the most barrels for this year’s campaign.

“Every year we have a different value that we focus on and this year it’s compassion, so this fits right in with our focus for the year, compassion,” said principal Jerry Zander.

Zander says students make sure each bin overflowing with food.

“It’s great to see the students get wrapped up in the competitive portion of it but at the end of the day, they do know they bigger picture is what we are doing is to help the community,” said Zander.

Since 1999, Edgewood High School has donated a whopping 38,000 pounds of food for families in Wisconsin.

“It’s really good to get our student body involved especially after the year we’ve had. I think that this is really special for our school because we’ve been involved with Share Your Holidays for so long,” said student Elizabeth Jacques.

A noble effort from some of Madison’s youngest residents – without them, Share Your Holidays certainly wouldn’t be the success that it is.

If you’d like to contribute to this year’s Share Your Holidays Campaign you can drop off food at any participating location or donate at check-out at Metcalfe’s Market or Woodman’s. Our goal this year is 5 million meals!

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