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MCISDlogoMission area schoolchildren are learning more than reading, writing and arithmetic. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, they are also learning the value of giving and helping those less fortunate.

Every school campus in the Mission Consolidated Independent School District has identified some way of helping the needy. For Thanksgiving, many of the campuses conducted food drives, donating thousands of food items to the Food Bank of the RGV or to the Mission Food Pantry. Others provided Thanksgiving baskets or meals for families in need, said Craig Verley. MCISD director of Public Relations.

Mission High School and Veterans Memorial High School participated in a food drive for the Mission Food Pantry, donating over 2,000 food items. The Pantry also benefitted from food drives by Sharyland schools, including John H. Shary Jr. High and B.L. Gray Jr. High. Some day cares are even teaching valuable lessons about sharing and giving; Apple Tree Day Care donated 125 items.

Some of the largest food drives were held at Bryan Elementary – 3,500 items, and K. White Jr. High – 4,000 items, which were donated to the Food Bank of the RGV.

Adela Ortega, president of the Mission Food Pantry board, said the food drives were lifesavers. Over the summer, the Food Pantry had to spend $8,000 to purchase food because their shelves were bare. Now, thanks to the food drives, their shelves are stocked enough to serve the needs of more than 200 families that depend on the Pantry to get by.

While the food drives have been vitally important and have helped the Pantry serve local residents needing food, more donations are always welcomed. Currently, the Pantry still needs canned meats and peanut butter, as these provide an excellent source of protein.

With winter setting in, they also need coats, sweaters and blankets.

Since, the Mission Food Pantry does not receive any support from the Food Bank of the RGV, Ortega encourages those who wish to help out Mission area residents to take their donations to the Pantry. They have a drop box located in front of the Pantry office at 1400 E. Kika de la Garza, (next to Lions Park) where donations can be dropped off at anytime. The Food Pantry is open only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. To make arrangements to drop off large donations at other times, call Ortega at 458-9066.

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