“One little second-grade girl brought in five cases of canned goods,” said second-grade teacher Carrie Waterman, who has been involved with the Christmas food baskets for 20 years.
“The firefighters give a donation every year and they deliver the food baskets,” she said. “It’s quite a lot. It’s two or three boxes of food per family.
“There are families that need a little extra assistance,” Waterman added. “A lot of people think this is a worthwhile cause.”
In addition to the food baskets, Jocko’s provides incentives for Edison’s Accelerated Reader program.
“They pick a couple of fifth-graders to work a shift at the restaurant,” Lazzell said. “The staff also works a shift to raise funds.”
Some of the other business partners include Back Door Pizza that works with the Kenneth D. Bailey Academy; First Financial awards a $1,000 scholarship to a Garfield School fifth-grader every year; Southwest Elementary students go over to Gardenview Manor Nursing Home to visit and the nursing home provides emergency shelter for the students; Aqua Illinois helps out Cannon School; and Sears’ employees buy gifts for Meade Park School families.
Spesard said, “There are 25 presents here right now from Sears. Sears adopts a family, and we give them their sizes. Many of the employees buy gifts for the whole family.”
Fire Station 4 also is a partner with Meade Park.
“The school will bring them cookie trays, and they’ll bring out their pumper truck for PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports),” Lazzell said.
“McDonald’s and the Witzels are amazing to the district,” he said. “They support every single one of our schools.
“Quaker also has been a huge partner and donates granola bars to Cannon School, and Carle Clinic donates the money to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at Northeast School,” he added.