For the past few years, Madras High School has carried on a tradition of giving out holiday food boxes for students.
“We had a student at Bridges High School come back from the winter break really malnourished and had to be lifeflighted for medical care,” said MHS Counselor Stacy Bruce. “So, it was pretty scary. We decided we didn’t want kids with long periods of time where they didn’t have access to food.”
This is what started the Holiday Food Box program at Madras High School. From that moment, the staff decided to take action.
“So we put together a total of 150 boxes,” said Bruce. ”We keep 100 to go to the high school-age kids at MHS, Bridges, and also this year for 509J online because they are in a separate umbrella from Madras High School, and then we give 50 boxes to the middle schools.”
Donations come from local churches, businesses, and community members.
“We actually looked at the money we had left over from last year and we actually are sitting on a pretty large chunk of change,” said Bruce. “So we decided not to fundraise this year. We thought it was more important to give the community when we are doing fine.”
One private donor gave $6,000 to the program. It takes around $9,000 to fill the boxes with food each year.
“We are sitting at about $18,000 from churches from the last couple years of fundraising, which was great,” said Bruce. “So we spent about half this year. So we will probably hit the fundraising again next year a little bit.”
It takes about 25 volunteers to fill all the boxes and drop them off.
“We interview each kid and make sure that they really need the food box and what is really cool too is sometimes they will actually refer a friend and say ‘my family is doing really well; we don’t need it right now, but so and so might need it’ and we’ll go ‘OK, we’ll check in with them and see if they need it’ and sometimes they will pass it along to somebody else, too.”