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MORRISONVILLE - When it comes to understanding the importance of giving, at Morrisonville Elementary School, that lesson is hardly a new one.

The school just wrapped up its annual celebration of Community Contributor Month, which has been an annual focus each January on giving back to the community for the past 14 years. This year, the school helped the Plattsburgh Interfaith Foodshelf, which serves underprivileged families in Clinton County.

"We have folks who know people at the Interfaith Foodshelf and what they shared with us is that the North Country is a very giving place, especially during the holiday season, but after, their shelves can get kind of low," said principal Bradley J. Ott.

And, with that idea, "Project Facts for Food" was born. The initiative challenged students to collect 3,000 items for the food shelf, consisting of nonperishables and personal hygiene products, while learning at the same time

Students who participated were required to practice math facts for 10 minutes a day in the company of a parent, guardian, childcare provider or even an older sibling. The students then had to collect pledges of donations to the food shelf based on the amount of time they practiced things such as counting objects, reviewing flash cards, and even playing board games where math is involved.

"We've decided to go that route, but because we always need to work with an educational angle besides, of course, the lesson of helping others," said Ott. "So, we decided to come up with the idea of children processing their math facts in earning sponsorships for those."

Ott said while past efforts have focused on raising money for initiatives like the "Chelsea Rainbow Fund Project," an effort in 2005 to raise money for children of the North Country with cancer, the school has wanted to continue to do projects that don't involve raising actual dollars.

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