Tears can often be found flowing inside the office of Melodie Chrisman, Community Services League vice president of income support and its Blue Springs site manager.
That was certainly the case earlier this week when Chrisman was visited by Blue Springs High School student government representatives Josy Butler and Kaity Johnson and Blue Springs South representatives Isaac Hummel and Courtney Cook.
But these tears were a bit different, as they were tears of joy.
Thanks to efforts during Community Unity Week, leading up to the annual Blue Springs-Blue Springs South football game, 57,142 non-perishable food items were donated to the Community Services League, along with a check for $4,200.
As the students visited Chrisman this week, the waterworks opened.
“Oh my gosh, here come those tears again,” Chrisman said, as she greeted each student with her trademark hug. “But I love these tears. I simply can’t say thank you enough to all of our schools in Blue Springs and our community.
“Community Unity Week is always something special, but this year it was simply amazing, and I want to take this opportunity to thank our entire community. I wish I could give everyone in Blue Springs a big hug for helping.”
The once-bare pantry shelves in the Blue Springs office, 200 S.W. 10th St., now overflow with food items that will benefit residents in need.
“We get to come up here and see Melodie cry, and we love it,” said Cook, a senior at Blue Springs South. “This year’s food drive was really amazing. We had boxes after boxes on pallets, and we filled trucks and students’ cars and brought them up here in a big parade, and it just made us all feel so good.”
Added Hummel, a South senior, “Last year, I had quite a few boxes of food in my car to bring to the Community Services League, but this year I couldn’t really see out of anything but my front window and side windows because the back of my car was packed from the floor to the ceiling.”
“When we got up here and started unloading all the food, I just felt happy and proud.”
As Chrisman listens to the students talk about their food drives, she wipes another tear.
“This is the coolest thing we do, because it helps everyone in our community – even some of the students and their families at our high schools,” said Johnson, a Blue Springs senior. “We drove here with all our boxes, and it was like it was never going to end.
“I know everyone feels this way, but it just makes you so proud.”
Butler, a junior at Blue Springs, echoed the comments of her fellow student government representatives.
“I think it’s so important for our student councils to have an impact inside our school and in our community,” Butler said. “And this is the best way to do it. We can look at all the shelves that are full of food and know that we really did something good.”
As the students visit with Chrisman in her tiny corner office, a young mother with an elementary-aged child visits with a volunteer, who takes an overflowing grocery bag off the shelf.
As she hands it to the mother, her little boy’s face lights up and he says, “Thank you!”
Here come those tears again.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Chrisman said. “It’s all about helping.”