A local student has raised 350 pounds of food and 5 boxes of clothing to keep people fed and clothed this winter.
Lexi Turner, a Grade 7 student at Bracebridge’s Muskoka Falls Public School, has been collecting food and coat donations for the past two weeks. On Monday, the food was delivered to the Manna Food Bank, while the roughly 20 coats were given to the Muskoka Interval House.
Turner says initially, she was just hoping to help out the local food bank, but the drive grew from there.
“Me and my friend Kylie [McNabb], we felt like giving back a bit to the community and we decided to do that with a food drive,” says Turner. “We thought ‘why don’t we do clothing too,’ and then that turned into finding a place to donate, and we found the [Muskoka] Interval House.”
Aside from McNabb, Turner says she got a lot of help from her friends Jasmine Dickson, Faith Palechuk, and Jillian O’Neill, as well as school staff who helped coordinate everything with the two not-for-profits.
“It’s amazing, because we originally had a goal of 170 donations,” says Turner. “That’s about one per kid in the school, and we got that on the first day.” Overall, she says they got more than 350 individual donations, filling about two minivans.
“I thought it was amazing, it showed great initiative. She came up with the whole idea on her own and wanted to support people in her community, as well as our school,” says Mandy Lorenzini, one of Lexi’s teachers. “All the teachers, the staff and students here, are very proud of these ladies and what they’ve done so far this year. It’s been amazing.”
While Turner and her friends have had a busy couple of weeks, Lorenzini says to not count them out for next year.
“Lexi [and her friends] are in Grade 6 and 7, so I think they could continue to be the leaders with this over the next few years, and maybe it could be an annual thing,” she says.
If people still want to donate, Turner says they can drop off donations directly at Manna Food Bank and Muskoka Interval House.