The Christmas tree is typically a symbol of the holiday, but at William Ford Elementary School, the stately pine that stands in the front lobby has something more essential underneath it than gifts.
The tree, called a “Giving Tree,” was the centerpiece of a weeks-long food drive that would ultimately collect more than 1,000 food items for the area’s poor. The food was donated by staff and students, and was later transported to Zaman International, a local non-profit that provides food and assistance to families in need.
Sandy Wood, the parent liaison at William Ford, said the students were enthusiastic about the event this year.
“We’ve done this before, and the students get really excited about it,” she said.
Wood was not able to provide a final number for the amount of food donated, but said its more than 1,000 items. The food drive at William Ford was spearheaded by the STAND group, or Students Taking A New Direction, but donations were offered school-wide, Wood said.
Monica Boomer, the director of community engagement at Zaman International, said the efforts by schools are an essential piece in its mission—to lessen the effects of poverty in Dearborn and beyond.
“We have quite a few schools that donated to us, and it’s wonderful,” she said. “We couldn’t do what we do out in the community if it were not for the support we receive.”
Zaman has been providing food for local families for 13 years. That includes holiday meals, but also assist families year-round through a mobile meals program that serves hot, nutritious meals to 9,000 people per year.
At William Ford, the students are learning how important it is to be part of a process that helps people in their community.
“The students are learning that it’s a good thing to give,” said Wood.