By Matt Clevenger
For Miami Valley Today
TIPP CITY — Members of the Tipp City Education Association (TCEA) held a back-to-school food drive this week, delivering two truckloads of donated food items and approximately $700 in cash and gift cards to local non-profit organizations Lunch on Us and the Tipp City Needy Basket.
“I wish we had weighed everything,” vice president of membership Brenda Mahaney said. “It didn’t all fit; I had to come back after I dropped one load off to pick up the rest, and that was just the food items.”
“The day before, we delivered 50 pounds of fresh vegetables that our members had grown in their gardens,” Mahaney said. “It was zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans.”
The education association started the food drive on Thursday, Aug. 27, several days before students returned to school, reaching out to teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, teachers and community members through social media.
“We opened it up to anyone who was interested,” Mahaney said. “We just kind of spearheaded it.”
“It took us four days,” she said. “We put it out to our members on Thursday, through email and a private social media group that we have. We were able to collect everything on Monday and Tuesday when we came back.”
The 154-member education association held a food drive once before, around the time of the group’s formation approximately five years ago.
“We’ve done other fundraisers; little things for our scholarship fund that we established,” Mahaney said. “But this was the first time since our inception that we did a food drive.”
Two local non-profit organizations, Lunch on Us and the Tipp City Needy Basket, were chosen to receive donations due to the ongoing services they provide for students in the district.
“Those two organizations have been vital to serving our students, especially when we couldn’t,” Mahaney said. “When we went into lockdown in March, Lunch on Us and the Needy Basket really stood in the gap; they really came in and helped take care of the kids.
“When we were not able to kind of take care of our students like we normally do, because they’re in our presence and in our building, those two organizations really stepped up,” she said. “We know that if we go back to remote learning they’re going to be doing the same thing, and helping to take care of our students.”
The education association is planning to make the food drive a regular event, which could be held either quarterly or monthly depending on local non-profits’ level of need.
“I know that both organizations were very thankful and gracious about the donations and really could put them to good use,” Mahaney said. “We will continue to reach out to them and see what they need. Whatever it is they have specific needs for, we can help fill in the blanks.”