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Bridget Zimmerman and Morgan Ats sort donations at Riddle Brook Elementary School for the New Hampshire Food Bank on Monday, Nov. 19. (Kathy Remillard)

New Hampshire Food Bank collects hundreds of items at Bedford school

BEDFORD - Students at Riddle Brook Elementary School got into the spirit of giving this week, collecting more than 600 items for the New Hampshire Food Bank.

'This is the most we've ever gotten,' said Principal Molly McCarthy of the boxes of donations piled up in her office. From soup and pasta to canned vegetables, students counted and sorted 646 items that will be donated, a record high for the school.

McCarthy said last year, 362 items were donated, which was less than the two prior years, which each surpassed 500 items.

Donations came in slowly after Hurricane Sandy, McCarthy said, but after a reminder about the food drive in her weekly newsletter to parents, items began to come in quickly.

Students on the Principal's Advisory Group gave up some of their lunchtime and worked in pairs, counting and sorting all of the boxes and bags of food.

Students were glad to be able to offer some extra help to those in need.

'It's important for people to have food at Thanksgiving,' said Bridget Zimmerman.

Classmate Carley Blaine said she felt she was making a difference to others.

'There are people everywhere who don't have enough food to eat,' she said. 'I think this really makes a difference.'

Brooke O'Neill agreed.

'There are people who worry when their next meal is, and when it will be,' she said. 'Some people think of this as work, but I see it as helping the community.'

McCarthy said students are part of a giving generation, with kids donating to charitable organizations in lieu of birthday presents, and helping various community organizations.

Students will often come to her about fundraising for different causes, McCarthy said.

Riddle Brook's own Maeve Jackson recently made a sizable donation to Perry Hill Farm, where a barn housing 14 horses was destroyed in a fire last September. All of the horses perished in the blaze.

'This school is really giving,' McCarthy said. 'And it's not just the parents, it's the kids.'

The school is also in the midst of a winter coat drive, and McCarthy is pleased with the level of participation in that effort.

'They could have no idea about any of this,' she said. 'But they are really, truly involved.'

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Thursday-Friday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.,
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Saturday, 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.

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