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Lakewood students bag 12 tons of spuds for Arlington, Marysville food banks

From left, Lakewood High School freshman Molly Stuller and senior Cameron Howard show off the potatoes they still have left over from their two-week bagging effort for area food banks. - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Lakewood High School freshman Molly Stuller and senior Cameron Howard show off the potatoes they still have left over from their two-week bagging effort for area food banks.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

LAKEWOOD — The generosity of a local potato farmer allowed the student body of Lakewood High School to help round out the holiday meals of area food bank customers.

LHS freshman Molly Stuller and senior Cameron Howard coordinated the bagging of an estimated 12 tons of potatoes, which eventually saw each student at the school filling an average of 15 bags of potatoes for Marysville and Arlington food banks. Before they were bagged, the potatoes filled a 20-foot by 30-foot enclosure that added up to a mountain that, at its height, stretched taller than the students who worked on it.

“A truck backed up and just dumped all these potatoes on us,” Stuller said.

“Our greenhouse teacher has so many connections with local farmers,” said Howard, who noted that both the teacher and the farmer wished to remain anonymous to ensure that the students received the majority of attention for this good deed. “We did a lot of cleaning of potatoes. I stayed there to finish bagging potatoes for 10 evenings.”

Howard and Stuller were quick to share credit with their fellow students, which Stuller helped recruit by submitting letters to each teacher’s classroom requesting that they allow their classes to take part in bagging the potatoes. Howard added a bit of incentive by suggesting to the teachers that they award extra credit to the students who chose to participate.

“Class after class came by to help,” Stuller said.

“It was like a party,” laughed Kristi Lentz, a Spanish teacher at the school who helped oversee the two-week-long bagging effort. “No one person wound up being in charge.”

“A conductor can’t really take credit for the work of their orchestra,” Howard said.

Although a number of the potatoes that remain were sorted out because they’d gone bad or had been damaged, many more stayed in excellent shape, were bagged and are waiting to be taken to the food banks in the area.

“We called all the food banks to see which ones needed potatoes,” Howard said. “The one in Marysville was so low that they were only giving out two potatoes to each family of six. They needed more, especially for holiday meals. You could tell it meant a lot to them.”

“That was one of the best parts,” Stuller said. “It left some of them speechless.”

Howard noted that the potato-bagging effort was initiated by a freshman and a senior, which he feels shows how pervasive the school’s community spirit is throughout its grade levels.

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