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Middle school students

PLATTSBURGH - When it comes the importance of giving back to the community, it's a value students at Stafford Middle School have learned well.

The Stafford Pride Committee, comprised of community-minded students, and the Plattsburgh Teachers Association joined together Nov. 19 through Dec. 23 to collect nonperishable food items for the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties Food Shelf in Plattsburgh.

The collection drive was part of an ongoing effort by the school to give back during the holiday season.

"We ended up with well over 1,000 items," said Jason Nisoff, one of the teachers behind coordinating the drive. "It was like a domino effect. Once one student brought something in, the rest would be more excited to bring donations in."

"It felt good giving back to the community," said eighth-grader Jeremy Carpenter.

"Helping people is good," said Rachel Bedard, another eighth-grade student. Sixth-grader Charlie Morgan said he enjoyed helping with the drive, having first got actively involved in community service as a student at Oak Street Elementary.

"It was pretty good," Morgan said of first getting involved. "We can't do a lot, because we're not the richest family, but we do what we can."

The holiday food donation hasn't been the only cause students have helped this school year. Among other causes, students have also raised money for the Adirondack Humane Society in Plattsburgh and the Champlain Valley Search and Rescue K9 Unit in Keeseville.

"It makes you feel happy and good about yourself," eighth-grader Kelly Cantwell said about giving back to the community. "And, it makes the people we're helping happy."

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