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Canned foods ‘Can Do’ team

By: Stephanie Dumm
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The Salt Mine food bank received an unexpected gift last Friday. That gift was 1,872 canned items of food collected during the second annual First Street School food drive. The five-day food drive ended Friday. “This is going to be a huge help,” said Eric Long, one of two pastors at The Salt Mine, which is also a church. “It should help out for a good month.” Brian Furrer, 10, with his mother’s assistance, organized the food drive for the second consecutive year. “We both volunteered at the food bank last summer and their supply was low,” said his mother, Terri Furrer. While full during the holidays, The Salt Mine’s shelves are typically emptier the rest of the year, according to Furrer. Long said that the Salt Mine helps between 700 and 800 families by providing them with a 40- to 50-pound box of food every month. “We are so grateful for food drives such as this one because it allows us to keep helping and not turn people away,” Long said. “We never want to have to turn people away.” Each class at the elementary school collected non-perishable food, such as canned vegetables, pasta, baby food, and macaroni and cheese. “Some of the best stuff comes from the food drive, because of the variety,” Terri Furrer said. “There are fun, different things you may not get on your traditional trips to the food bank.” Ruben Ayala, First Street School’s principal, said the class that collected the most was Jeaninne Kato’s fourth grade class, with 173 donations. Ayala said that the winning class receives a pizza party. There will also be a drawing for another pizza party. To be eligible for the drawing, classes up through third-grade had to bring in 40 donations, and fourth-grade and up had to bring in 50 donations. All the classes qualified to be in this year’s drawing. “I just told the kids job well done,” Ayala said Monday. “I’m really proud of them.” Brian and his mother collected the cans at school Friday with the help of two of Brian’s friends and classmates, Drake Hipe and Dakota Dean, both 10. “Brian asked me if I wanted to help and I just joined him,” Drake said. The three boys, along with Terri Furrer, went from classroom to classroom, collecting and counting the food. “It feels great,” Brian said, when asked about the successful food drive. “The first year, I thought we’d raise 600.” In fact, the first food drive resulted in 1,356 cans being brought into school. While collecting the food Friday, the boys’ reactions to the goods varied from excitement over items such as hot chocolate and cookies to confusion about pinto beans and peanut sauce. All three are in Anita Moya’s fifth-grade class and Moya stressed Friday how important it is for students to become involved in the community. “I’m really proud of him for doing his citizenship work,” Moya said about Brian on Friday afternoon. “It’s an honor to be a teacher of students who are really trying to help the community.” Brian’s father, David Furrer, was also there that day, loading boxes of food into the back of his trailer to take to The Salt Mine. “He’s always been that kind of a kid, helping and caring about other people,” David Furrer said. “Terri and I do a lot of things and so he sees that in us and so he’s always wanted to do it himself.”