Annual Food Drive at Bremen High School

Annual Food Drive at Bremen High School
Every year on the Monday after Thanksgiving, Bremen High School gives back to the community through its annual food drive. In partnership with Berkot's Super Foods, every Midlothian resident receives a Berkot's shopping bag, coupon, and a letter from Bremen High School requesting donations and explaining the food drive process. This year, roughly 5,000 bags were distributed. Bremen students and staff went door to door collecting non-perishable food items through early December. If a donation pickup was accidentally missed, the school provided a phone number and a representative went to pick up the goods. If residents preferred to drop donations off themselves, they were encouraged to do so at Berkot's Super Foods located at 4640 W. 147th street in Midlothian.

The food drive started in 1985 by Bremen's Assistant Principal at the time, Mr. John McGraw who would later become the Principal of District 228's Tinley Park High School. Sadly, Mr. McGraw passed away during the food drive last year. Nevertheless, his legacy lives on.

In 1985, the first Bremen High School food drive resulted in 1,500 pounds of collected food. Since then, the numbers only continued to rise. This year, Bremen's food drive was another proven success with 11,240 pounds of food collected. The donated food went to local food pantries at St. Christopher's Church and St. Stephen's Church in Midlothian. These food pantries feed not only residents of Midlothian, but also the neighboring towns of Markham and Posen where pantries have become limited.

Mr. Terry Stephens, who is a retired Bremen High School Science Teacher now heading the Bremen Freshman Learning Center part-time, has been involved with the food drive since its start in 1985. He says, "Bremen's food drive is a reflection of the generosity and the goodness of the students and the community. I think any way you can measure goodness, Bremen excels. The food drive is just one example of the continuous work these students are doing - from the blood drive to toy drives, St. Baldrick's Day fundraisers, bringing a micro pantry to the school, and so much more. They are just good, it's a great school."

Even after the drive had officially ended on December 7, right before the holiday season, Bremen English Teacher and National Honor Society Sponsor, Sarah Bogard says hundreds of more pounds of food continued to be collected and donated.

The food drive is ran every year by Bremen High School's National Honor Society and the Student Council, but nearly everyone at the school finds a way to lend a helping hand. With boxes of food lining the school's hallways (boxes provided generously by Sodexo), it's hard to not want to help out or to ignore the drive's popularity in the community. The drive is so successful and powerful, that a group of National Honor Society Students were invited to present on it at the National Honors Society Convention in Washington D.C. in 2017 and in Chicago in 2016.

This year, students dedicated over 600 hours of labor to the drive with more than 130 student volunteers dedicating their time. Mr. Stephens, who was also a Bremen swimming coach in 1985, use to allow his busy student-athletes to trade in a practice day to help out with the food drive. Other clubs and sports continue to follow the tradition including Bremen Wrestling, who helped deliver food to local pantries on December 8. Inside the school, classrooms faced off in a friendly competition to see who could donate the most items. This year, Mr. Steven Ramel's third-hour freshmen Digital Literacy class won the competition with a collection of 255 items of which Mr. Ramel says was donated in the short time frame of one week!

"We are very gracious. There's a growing need more and more," says Sister Laurinda Hefel, who runs the St. Christopher food pantry. "It's hard to remember everyone who comes to the pantry, but when I hear from Bremen alum they often remember the food drive as part of their high school experience and meeting me, which is heartwarming."

Sister Hefel also gives credit to the people of Midlothian who she credits for being "very generous" and "always working together." With the holiday season ended, Sister Hefel encourages people to continue bringing in donations as the pantry will need re-stocking in the summer and spring months.
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2019 West Corporation. All rights reserved.