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Cooke holds food drive for Backpack Program

May 21, 2017

Mrs. Ross and Ms. Dutcher recently organized a food drive competition to help build up supplies for Cooke's backpack program. Mrs. Ross is the head teacher for the Career Readiness Program at the Monticello High School. Five years ago, she collaborated with Kathy Kreiter, from the Federation for the Homeless, to begin a backpack program for the Monticello School District. The program serves two purposes: It teaches life skills (shopping and budgeting in bulk, teamwork for packing) for the students in the Career Readiness class and it makes available provides food during weekends for school vacations for families that are experiencing difficult times.

The backpack program relies on grant money from the United Way and donations throughout the year. More than 100 families have benefited from this program within the past fiive years.

Joana Dutcher serves as Cooke's backpack program coordinator. She sent letters out to Cooke families so they could sign up for the program. Mrs. Ross’ class shops for food for both the high school and the GL Cooke School and then make deliveries to Ms. Dutcher, who then distributes the food to the students. Ms. Dutcher also collects food donations from the wonderful faculty and staff of the Cooke School.

The class that collected the most food won an ice cream party that was provided, and served, by the students in Mrs. Ross’ Career Readiness Program.

Winners of food drive celebrate.

Pictured: Mrs. Ross, Mr. Mabee (teaching assistant for Mrs. Ross), George L. Cooke Principal Sandra Johnson-Fields, students from Mrs. Ross’ class, some studen winner, and Mrs. Dutcher.