Wednesday, December 7, 2011

We Care

Edina students benefit from an extraordinary team of adults who teach and lead by example, both in and out of the classroom.
Ric Dressen @EdinaSuper

“We care, we dare, we share.”

Edina School District bus drivers have brought service to others to the school bus. For the past four Novembers, bus drivers have invited their student riders to bring food donations for the hungry. The Edina Fire Station’s work collecting food for VEAP inspired the drivers to give students a chance to help food shelves. Last month, Edina students donated approximately 5000 pounds of food through the school bus food drive. This year’s total is down a bit from last year’s of 6648 pounds because of a temporary space shortage at the bus garage.

Jerry’s contributes the grocery bags. The drivers place them at the front of the bus, where interested students can grab them. The drivers do not pressure students. Not everyone is able to participate. That’s okay, because some kids climb the bus with a full bag day after day. It is a “light-hearted” effort to assist those in need. In this spirit, in 2009 a driver dressed up in a tutu as penance when another bus collected more food than his bus.

The food drive requires a lot more from the drivers than putting bags on the bus. At the end of each day during the drive, the groceries are weighed, so the tally can be reported to students the following day. Then, a driver loads the donations into her truck for delivery to the food shelves. This year’s drive benefited two small food shelves - one in Minneapolis, the other in St. Paul.  Drivers also reached into their own pockets to donate cash to the effort. The 2011 drive raised more than $2800.00 in cash alone, including a contribution from the drivers’ union. This figure is similar to cash collections in past years. 

At our home, we learned of the food drive when our sixth grader came off the bus one day with a Jerry’s bag. Stapled to the bag was a flier from the District’s bus drivers. The flier described the program and noted that the District’s drivers “love taking care of your kids.” As one driver put it, “There is nothing more heartening than pulling up to a bus stop and seeing the kids holding bags of food.” Not only are the District’s bus drivers safely transporting our kids to and from school, they are modeling the District’s motto in a potent way. Something to be thankful for this season.

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