Brownstown Elementary conducts food drive for Shed for You

BROWNSTOWN — As students walked into Brownstown Elementary School each day the week before spring break, they were dressed for that day’s theme and carried canned goods.

Macey Stuckwisch, a substitute teacher at the school, liked seeing the students participate in both “Here Comes Spring Break, BES!” activities and smile while doing so.

They smiled because they could win prizes for their participation and they were helping stock the shelves at the Shed for You community building in town.

“The impact on the community that I knew they were making was incredible,” Stuckwisch said.

“At the end of the week, I heard several students say that the week went by so fast because it was so much fun. This was heartwarming for me because I knew my plans for the week had been a success. Also, hearing the cheers of the students when I told them they had won a prize made me smile every time.”

Even the staff members had fun. They also participated in the dress-up days, and 17 decorated their classroom door based on a spring theme with a chance to win prizes.

“The door decorating contest was more for fun than for the students to learn something. This got the creative staff involved with their students,” Stuckwisch said.

At the end of the week, the school had collected 1,255 nonperishable food items.

Stuckwisch said 355 students brought in items. The K3 kindergarten classroom donated the most, 126. The 3C third grade class was close behind with 116.

In each grade, the classroom that collected the most food items received a prize for each student.

“I hope the students gained knowledge of how food impacts our community,” Stuckwisch said. “Learning about agriculture and giving back to our community was the main goal.”

Agriculture is important to Stuckwisch because she was an FFA member until graduating from Brownstown Central High School in 2021, and she’s now studying agribusiness management at Ivy Tech Community College.

While subbing at BES, she noticed in February it had been awhile since the school had a spirit week, so she received permission from Principal Chrystal Street and Assistant Principal Marty Young to have a fun week before spring break.

She created the materials, contacted companies to get sponsors, gave announcements each morning, contacted teachers and staff with information about the week, took pictures, collected and counted the nonperishable items and more.

Sponsors included Rose Acre Farms, Premier Companies and Wright Implement. They donated prizes, including a Walmart gift card from Rose Acre Farms, Pop Its and a bag full of goodies from Premier Companies and John Deere shirts, hats, toy tractors, a toy service truck and a children’s duffel bag from Wright Implement.

Premier Companies also donated prizes for the door decorating contest — Pop Its for students and a metal insulated cup for 1A teacher Abbi Young (first place) and color-changing pencils for Darcy Harvey’s K1 class (second place) — and the coloring contest — Pop Its for students.

Thank-you posters were in the cafeteria to give students and staff the opportunity to express appreciation for supporting the school.

“The sponsors I chose because they related to agriculture, which I wanted to promote in the activities,” Stuckwisch said. “I planned this week for fun. Seeing the impact was amazing. The kids were so excited to dress up and make an impact in our own community.”

The weeklong celebration involved students from preschool to fifth grade, and Stuckwisch said it’s important to incorporate giving back into school activities.

“Children are constantly learning from the moment they are born. A lot of how they learn is through learned behaviors,” she said. “Giving back to the community in a simple canned food drive with the thought of winning a prize for encouragement will teach the students how important it is to give back to the community.”

Even if they couldn’t bring in items for the food drive, the dress-up days gave them a chance to still participate.

The daily themes were “Your future is so bright!” (wear your favorite sunglasses and hat), “Feeding the future!” (dress up like a farmer) and “Dress for success!” (students dress up like their future career and teachers dress like students).

“I decided this because I wanted everyone to have a chance to dress up, no matter their ability to bring in canned goods,” Stuckwisch said. “Learning to give back to the community through this fun week can help teach the students to continue to give back as they grow up.”

By the numbers 

“Here Comes Spring Break, BES!” 

Nonperishable food items donated to the Shed for You community building: 1,255

Students donating: 355

Top collecting classrooms per grade: Pre-K (24), K3 (126), 1C (62), 2B (40), 3C (116), 4B (92) and 5A (44)

Staff members participating in door decorating contest: 17