Blue Springs schools come through with large food donations

Bill Althaus

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way countless people carry on their daily activities. 

Among the most affected are local charitible groups that relay on donations from their communities. 

Laura Spaulding, Community Services League warehouse manager, brings in cartons of food items to the Blue Springs CSL location. The food was gathered by Blue Springs schools during Community Unity Week.

That's why Community Services League staff crossed their fingers and hoped for massive donations during last week's Community Unity Week in Blue Springs. 

Schools and business make monetary and food donations to help CSL not only survive but thrive over the next few months with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up 

At last Friday's annual Cat Clash football game, where Blue Springs High School played host to Blue Springs South, the CSL was awarded a check for $6,215 and 77,436 food items, That's 13,000 more food items than were delivered in 2019, with 2020 taking a hit because of the pandemic. 

Voy Spears Elementary School donated the most overall food items with a record 10,790. Paul Kinder Middle School was tops among middle schools with 4,781, and Blue Springs South was the high school winner with 6,892. 

Melodie Chrisman, the Blue Springs site manager and CSL vice president, was overcome by the results. 

"You're going to see me cry," said Chrisman, who joined student council members and sponsors from Blue Springs and Blue Springs South high schools for the announcement during last Friday’s game. 

"Our community always comes through, and the people in Blue Springs really came through this year. It's just unbelievable." 

She added, "Last year, we needed four times the amount of food and donated items than we have needed in the past because of COVID – and our community came through, like it always does.” 

"We had drive-through lanes, and they were always full.” 

"Now our shelves and our pantries are going to be full, and we are going to have such an abundance of food that we can help other CSL locations in Eastern Jackson County and other food pantries in the area." 

The line of trucks, vans and recreational vehicles, filled with students and food from Blue Springs South High School, began arriving at the CSL's Blue Springs office mid-morning Monday. 

"This is my first Community Unity Week," said CSL warehouse manager Laura Spaulding, "and it's bigger and better than I ever imagined. Just the look on the kids' faces as they unload their vehicles and put them on pallets to be distributed around the area fills me with so much joy." 

"This is amazing," South senior Alex Israelite said, "because this goes to people here in our community. It might go to the student of a family you sit next to in class, or someone you know, and don't even think about what's going in their lives at home. 

"That's why we get involved and look forward to Community Unity Week." 

South senior Luke Seib added, "You never really think about someone from your school going hungry, but there are kids like that and they need help – and this helps them. And it just makes me proud to be a part of Blue Springs South and our community." 

Blue Springs sponsor Anna Coles shares their enthusiasm. 

"This is one of the best weeks of the year, and tonight is one of the best nights," Cole said, after making the presentation to Chrisman. "We have an elementary school that donated 10,000 items and two high schools that donated more than 11,000 items – and they're helping people in the community who really need it." 

The money donated will be used to help CSL clients with emergencies, and help fill the shelves of the annual CSL Christmas store. 

By the time the South high school students had dropped off their food items, more began arriving. By 1 p.m. a 26-foot truck had been filled to capacity. 

"This is just unbelievable," said Spaulding, as she brought some of the excess food items into the CSL office. "You hear about things like this, but you can't really appreciate it until you see it – and seeing is believing."