JCMS students organize food, toy drive


by: Photo by Susan Matheny - Jefferson County Middle School sixth-graders Josiah Washington, left, Richayla Elliott, and Elaina Nambo stack cans donated to the food drive. Teacher Margee O’Brien is in the background.

   Students in Jefferson County Middle School's leadership class have organized holiday food and toy drives as a way of giving back to the community.
   The food drive is a competition between different "teams" or sections of the middle school, with the team collecting the most cans of food winning a cocoa party.
   "It's for people that can't afford food. Students bring canned food, and it all goes to the food bank," said sixth-grader and leadership student Elaina Nambo.
   "We wanted to give back to the community and talked about ideas, and a toy drive is the one that the most students voted on," said eighth-grader Kyler Ulibarri, also a leadership student.
   Six local businesses, Norton Cattle Co., High Desert Organix, Central Oregon Seeds, Central Oregon Agronomy, Central Oregon Basalt, and Williams Land and Livestock, donated $1,000, which the leadership classes used to purchase new toys, noted Lindsay Painter, who teaches the leadership classes.
   Celeste White, a seventh grade leadership student explained, "Kids can buy one of the toys and donate it, or they can use Buff Bucks to buy a toy to donate. It's been going great so far, with lots donated by kids."
   In fact, 45 toys were donated on the very first day of the toy drive, Painter noted.
   Buff Bucks are reward tickets given to students for good behavior, which they usually redeem for items at a school store.
   The Buff Buck option ensures that students who don't have the money to purchase a toy still have a way to donate.
   "We're pretty excited about the drives, and that for all the community does for us, we can give back," Ulibarri said.