LIMA — Thanks to an effort by eight members of the Shawnee boys basketball team, 60 Shawnee Maplewood students and their families will receive Thanksgiving-themed bags full of food.
Recruited by Shawnee senior Sheridan O’Neal, the eight teenagers visited the West Ohio Food Bank on Wednesday to stuff food bags — the results of their efforts — which will then be distributed to students in need at Maplewood.
O’Neal is calling his recently-developed program “Feed the Tribe.”
“I saw at Shawnee, there are young kids who go without food. I thought I could put a program in place to help these kids,” O’Neal said.
O’Neal began working with Shawnee Maplewood Principal Larry Foos and West Ohio Food Bank CEO Linda Hamilton in the spring to get the program started.
Hamilton said by partnering with the food bank, the program was able to extend the $128.40 donation raised by Shawnee students to create 60 bags of food. The bank often has contracts with food companies to extend the bang of every buck received, bringing food costs down to 19 cents a pound.
“We can stretch the dollars that come in so much more,” Hamilton said. “To partner with us is to impact more individuals.”
The food bank already partners with Lima schools to create extensions of the food bank, or “school pantries,” to better connect with students and families in need. Hamilton said ensuring students aren’t hungry can also help school performance and improve educational attainment.
Food was also collected for the “Feed the Tribe” program during Shawnee’s parent-teacher conferences.
“I chose to develop the program when I learned there truly was a need at Shawnee, and I wanted to help those young students,” O’Neal said in a press release. “Many times people don’t think the need is ‘that close to home,’ but it really is. I just hope I make a difference in the lives of the students in need and provide support to them. I truly want to ‘Feed the Tribe.’”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.