Local organization honors UCS students for community service
Local organization honors UCS students for community service
Posted on 03/08/2019
Dr. Johns, Mrs. Black and Henry Ford II studentsThere are a lot of great traditions in Utica Community Schools. 

For many students, one of the most important and successful traditions is taking part in the annual Sterling Heights Kiwanis Food Drive to help local families over the holidays.

“I am very proud to be a part of that,” said Henry Ford II High School senior Madison Smith, whose school has taken part in the drive for the last 30 years. “It feels great to see everyone contributing and making someone’s life just a little bit better, especially during the cold weather season in Michigan.”

More than 20 UCS schools were recently honored by the Kiwanis for collecting more than 60,000 pieces of food for the annual drive. The collections supported more than 1,000 people in 230 families.

“When you give with your heart and help others, it talks about your values as young adults and your leadership,” Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns told students. 

Kiwanis President Jeff Henderson said the drive originally started in 1983 and operated out of a member's garage. Today, the Kiwanis needs to find a warehouse to hold the food until it is distributed.

“I hear the word hero thrown around a lot these days - everyone is a hero. But when you break it down, you guys are the heroes,” Henderson told students and teachers at the celebration. “You mobilized your fellow students and got this operation going at the buildings.”

Sterling Heights City Manager Mark Vanderpool said that the success of the drive represented the close partnerships that help improve the quality of life and support local families. 

“We have such a fantastic school district, and a wonderful relationship with Dr. Johns and the entire staff,” he said.

At Henry Ford II, where students raised 17,500 cans of food, the collection “is really a feel good opportunity” where students create a competitive spirit to raise the most food, Smith said. 

“Through our work, people will have food in their stomachs and little bit of hope for the future,” she said.