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How competition helped Little Acres collect more than 3,000 items of food for students in need
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Kristy Batten and Little Acres Learning Center students Savannah Webb, Hanleigh Hodge, Monroe Ruchin and Emma Hodge pose near food collected to donate to Forsyth County Schools students on Monday, July 22, 2019. - photo by Brian Paglia

Kristy Batten sent the word out to the Little Acres Learning Center community: they were organizing a brief food drive with a competition to see which class could bring the most.

Batten didn’t know what to expect, but she was encouraged when she started to hear parents talk about it during carpool.

“We had parents outside going, ‘OK, I’m going to the grocery store,’” Batten said.

By the end, Little Acres collected 3,452 items of food, according to Batten, all of which will be donated to a program with Forsyth County Schools that sends backpacks of food home with students from families in need during the school year.

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Little Acres Leanring Center collected 3,452 items of food, according to Kristy Batten, who helped organize the school's food drive. - photo by Brian Paglia

The food drive was part of a month-long effort to involve Little Acres students in projects to help others.

“We just made it a big lesson,” Batten said.

Students made trips to Oaks at Post Road, an assisted living and memory care facility. They made fleece blankets for patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

For a third project, the school decided to do a food drive. Batten works as a special education teacher at Sawnee Elementary School, and she knew of Blessings in a Backpack, a club at Lambert High School that provides weekend food to elementary and middle school children on the federal free and reduced meal program.

Little Acres collected food for 10 days, Batten said. They encouraged families to bring age-appropriate snacks and simple meals.

“These students may not have an operating oven or may not have parents at home to help them,” Batten said.

After 10 days, the donations created piles that crowded the Little Acres entrance.

“I was expecting nowhere near this,” Batten said.

Batten said they’ll deliver the donations in the coming weeks, and it’ll be just in time: the 2019-20 school year starts Aug. 1.

“Just trying to help our community,” Batten said.

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