JES First grade teachers Brittani Stooksbury (left) and Brooke Goins (right) Facetimed with J-Lo on Monday.
JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – An unintended nationwide food drive (above) for Jacksboro Elementary School continues gaining strength this morning. JES alum and now veteran first grade school teacher Brooke Goins said, “My Facebook post a couple of weeks ago was just to say thank you to “my girls,” her fellow first grade teachers, for helping her pool together a few dollars to send food home with a hungry child. I never meant for it to become this.”
Donations of food are stacked from the floor to the ceiling at Jacksboro Elementary School.
Goins said on the Wednesday before fall break, a student came to her wanting a snack or so she thought. She quickly realized that he was asking about a Friday Food Bag since there was no school the coming Friday. The end of the week bag of food has been provided for years now by the Mt. Paran Baptist Church so children will have food for the weekend.
Not knowing if those bags would be coming, Goins collected about $60 from other teachers down the first grade hall. That was plenty enough to buy what Goins is calling a “Monday Bag” so the student would have food for the week of fall break. The young man told her he loved SpaghettiOs, because they give him a warm belly and help him sleep.
Storage of the food was expanded to two rooms.
Now, more than two weeks after that Oct. 2 post of thanks to her fellow first grade teachers, loads and loads of food continue arrving each day to the elementary school that sits high on the hill overlooking Jacksboro. There’s not been a day without a FedX or UPS truck dropping off donations of food.
Instead of one room to store the food, there are now two rooms as food is coming in from states as far away as Alaska, California and New York. Goins said, “There’s so much food that we are now reaching out to other Campbell County Schools, It means so much to take care of other kids, too.”
Goins said the notes that have come with the donations really tug on your heart especially like this one from Cheyenne, Wyoming.
“Our kids are amazing and deal with more than we’ll ever know, and this has drawn attention to a big problem; students coming in hungry and leaving hungry,” said JES Principal Steven Sampieri. He adds how touching and heartfelt the notes are that have come with many of the donations. “One donation was for $3. The note read this is all I could give,” Sampieri said. If anything for Sampieri, it has renewed his outlook on humanity.
It’s been a team effort of teachers, volunteers and others to organize all the food. Goins said she and first grade teacher Brittani Stooksbury along with volunteers Amy Johnson, Jamie Sampieri and many other teachers have taken of their own time to help. “Not just in this situation, but people don’t realize what teachers do on a daily basis beyond teaching,” said Goins.
Media coverage has helped drive the unintended food drive. Most recently, Goins Facetimed Monday from the JES campus with Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez live on The Doctors TV Show. Goins’ sons and husband, big baseball fans, were quite impressed she visited with A-Rod, a future baseball hall of famer. In addition, Lopez is sending food to the young boy in Goins’ class.
And yes, there are even SpaghettiOs.
“I hope we always have food supplies in our school pantry for the kids,” said Goins. Given the response to the unintended nationwide food drive, it will likely be full for some time to come. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 10/17/2019-6AM)