Every year, Anne Arundel County Public Schools runs the Harvest for the Hungry campaign to help the Maryland Food Bank. During the wildly successful collection, schools raise thousands of dollars and many tons of food for the 43,000 people, 47 percent who are children, facing food insecurity. Some schools even create friendly competitions between grades and classes, and this year is no different, according to Leala Smith, an English teacher at Severna Park High.
“Teachers try to get their students to donate the most money and food items,” Smith said. “The winning teacher gets the Bruce Blackman Harvest for the Hungry Award, which is named after beloved English teacher Bruce Blackman, who passed away untimely last September. Last year, I won it, and I want to win the award again since he was my English teacher and inspired me to go into teaching.”
Helping Smith is sophomore Jacqueline Cloud, who is raising money by running a bake sale in the Cape Arthur community. Cloud, with the help of her mother, persuaded local bakeries to donate sweets and personally purchased baked goods to sell at her stand. All of the money she raises will go toward Smith’s Harvest for the Hungry fund at school.
“Ms. Smith was truly my inspiration,” Cloud said. “She told our class that last year she won with $7,000 that her class raised, and I wanted to beat that and make sure that my class donated as much as possible. As a little kid, I would always have bake sales, so I thought this would be a great way to earn some money and get the neighborhood involved.”
Cloud was fortunate enough to have Bakery Express donate four dozen doughnuts. The rest of the baked goods she purchased, with her mom’s help, at Severna Park sites.
“I raised $230 total. I felt so happy and proud!” Cloud said. “My goal was to raise $75, and so when I came home and counted it, I was shocked with joy. Just knowing that 1,840 pounds of food [will be donated] was amazing.”
Every $1 donated equals 8 pounds of food. Cloud thanked her mom, Smith and her customers for making the event a success. “It was truly awesome, and just remember how much it will mean to these people,” she said.
Smith was impressed with Cloud’s initiative and heart.
“She thought of the idea herself and is running it alone, and I think she deserves some recognition for choosing to spend her Saturday earning money to give back to the Maryland Food Bank,” Smith said.