The holidays are a time of giving, and for the last four years the students at Paonia Elementary School and the North Fork School of Integrated Studies have given a lot of food to the Paonia food pantry.
The food pantry is operated by the North Fork Ministerial Association, which includes the Paonia Church of Christ, Friends Church, the Church of the Nazarene, and Paonia Christian Fellowship. Scott McIntire, with Paonia Christian Fellowship, said the pantry is open the first and third Wednesday of the month and accepts donations of non-perishables throughout the year. While they accept all foods, they ask that items are ones that people are likely to buy and consume themselves, which, he said, doesn't include beets. They also accept perishable food items, preferably as close to one of the Wednesdays as possible. They also accept cash donations, which McIntire said allows them to purchase needed items.
The association focuses solely on the Paonia area, since Crawford and Hotchkiss operate their own food pantries, said McIntire.
PES principal Sam Cox said this is the fourth year the schools have participated in the drive. Each class also competes to see which one can collect the most items. This year, said teacher Bob Bushta, the fifth grade class won.
The boxes of food were delivered to the pantry by Paonia Lions Club members Ron Sims and Chad Campbell.