Demonstrating a caring heart

Columbus North High School students will bring a bit of Christmas spirit — and quite a bit of food — to 150 needy Bartholomew County families.

Organizers of the school’s canned food drive, which ends Friday, hope to collect 20,000 items of nonperishables for the families — and for others at the local Love Chapel food pantry, currently feeding more than 1,000 households monthly.

Leaders of the Student Assembly drive are inviting the public to join the effort by dropping off items at the main office during school hours.

“The families always are very grateful when we visit,” said North’s Emma McAlister, one of three student chairs of the effort along with Maddy Neal and Allison Bates.

A local resident unofficially linked to part of the local social service network helps the school identify the needy.

Each family gets two or more boxes of food that include a frozen chicken, vegetables, fruits, beans and other items, McAlister said.

McAlister estimated that 30 percent of donated food in the drive comes from the general public, including as students canvass local neighborhoods and solicit help. The public also donates money to the effort.

North Assistant Principal John Green is working alongside Student Assembly sponsor Mary Hamlin to help the students with the drive.

“The goal is considered a lofty one,” Green said. 

He said students and the public collected 17,000 cans or nonperishables last year.

Hamlin mentioned she regularly is touched by students’ compassion for others.

“They really take this to heart,” Hamlin said. “They become true leaders.”

How to help

Nonperishable food can be dropped off through Friday at the main office of Columbus North High School, 1400 25th St. Leaders of the Student Assembly are inviting the public to join the effort by dropping off items at the main office during school hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.