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Elementary students meet challenge, rally for JCEO

CHAZY Hunger can be a constant concern for many, but never more so than during the holidays when the disparity between the haves and have-nots is especially pronounced. It was this glaring need that inspired Denise Garnot of Hairstyles Unlimited in Chazy. I like to do volunteering, especially at Christmas, she said. When she found out the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties in Plattsburgh was feeding between 20-30 hungry families per day, she decided she needed to act. So, she issued a challenge. Together with the Homestead Restaurant in Chazy, she challenged the elementary students at Chazy Central Rural School to collect non-perishable food items to donate to the JCEO. The winning class would get an all-expenses-paid pizza party. Inspired in no small part by the promise of free pizza, the children quickly went to work. Throughout the month of December, they collected pounds upon pounds of food. But in the end, Ms. Jean Arthurs fifth-grade class led the pack. When they announced the winners, the fifth-graders screamed, laughed Mrs. Garnot. On Jan. 25, Mrs. Garnot made good on her promise and delivered a complete pizza party courtesy of the Homestead Restaurant. Along with their extra cheese and pepperoni, the fifth-graders got a lesson in the economics of hunger. JCEO program director Belinda Parent spoke to them about the work of the food pantry. I told them how some families have to choose between food and heat, she explained. Its a message that resonated with the kids, although they were pretty excited about the pizza, she admitted. My kids cleaned out my pantry trying to win the pizza party, said Ms. Parent, whose own children attend Chazy Elementary.

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