Canajoharie students attempting to fill school bus with food donations (#FOODWITHFALLON)

Students in Canajoharie are accepting non-perishable food items from now until Nov. 18 with the goal of collecting a full bus load of donations in time for the holidays.

All donations will be accepted at the high school and should be placed in the designated area just inside the main entrance. Donations from the community are welcome.

The food drive initiative was planned to reinforce this year’s theme at the high school, “Work Hard. Stay Humble. Be Kind.” Each year, the school’s STAR (Student-Teacher Activity Rally) program leads a series of activities revolving around a different theme. The STAR program began three years ago as a means to continue to build the school’s sense of community and enhance the connections between teachers and students and between students themselves.

“We’re hoping students will give a little of themselves to help someone else. Feeling good can be the result of doing good for someone else – someone you may not even know,” said Canajoharie High School social studies teacher Phil Horender, who is one of the teachers helping organize the effort. The school is working both the elementary and middle schools on the drive and any member of the community who would like to get involved is welcome.

“Ideally, this show of kindness and empathy can help bring our community together to help others around the holiday season,” Horender said.

As an added fun element to the food drive, the school is attempting attract Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon to Canajoharie to help celebrate the effort. To spread the word, the school is encouraging the use of the social media hashtag #FOODWITHFALLON hoping the comedian, who has Upstate ties, takes notice and, perhaps, even visits Canajoharie.

“Regardless, though, our primary focus remains on collecting food and giving back to the area. We hope that everyone in Canajoharie rallies around this activity and gets involved. So far, the response of the public and of the student body has been fantastic,” Horender said.

Horender said they are still researching potential food pantries to receive the donations, and students will assist with the delivery before the start of the school’s Thanksgiving break.