For the eighth year, Northeast Technology Center’s Claremore Campus has participated in the Share the Spirit campaign, an initiative to provide complete holiday meals for people in need in Rogers County. This year, Share the Spirit Board members set a campaign goal of $22,000, and the students at NTC are helping the campaign draw ever closer to reaching that goal.
Instructor Ron Stearnes and his Home Automation class organize the event for NTC. It becomes a bit of a contest as each class brings non-perishable food items to donate during the food drive. The class that collects and donates the most items receives a pizza party.
Share the Spirit Foundation President Dan Delozier coordinates the campaign, and 900 families will receive assistance through the program. Through the efforts of Claremore NTC, Cherokee Nation and other local businesses, each family will receive either a turkey or a ham, as well as all the side items necessary to enjoy a complete Christmas meal.
“I enjoy doing it,” said Stearnes. “I was shocked at how many people need help in Rogers County. My students enjoy the idea of helping others this time of year as well.”
Stearnes and his students set a goal of collecting 1,000 cans, and when all the counting was over, they had reached their goal.
“The goal is usually 1,000, cans, but in the past we’ve only collected five to six hundred cans,” Stearnes said. This year, we started a week before Thanksgiving and that helped a lot – we gathered just over 1,000 items which will go mostly to the Share the Spirit campaign. Some of the items will also be donated to the United Methodist Church’s Food Bank.”
Jessie Rodgers, Caylin Stripling and Sufeng Chang are members of the winning Health Careers class who – with the help of their classmates – gathered 359 canned food items. Thanks to their efforts, the Health Careers class claimed the crown – and the pizza party – promised to the class who collected the most items.
“I’m just one person helping solve a big problem, one can at a time,” said Jessie Rodgers of Oologah.