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1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Father Chris Boutin of St. John the Evangelist Church in Ozark, four Parker Elementary School ambassadors, Father Zachary Greenwell from St. John the Evangelist Church in Enterprise and Yvette Esteves, school reading specialist, stand with the donated food items Dec. 16. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL
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2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – School and church staff load up the goods for transport to their food pantries. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL
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3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – School ambassadors explain to Father Zachary Greenwell from St. John the Evangelist Church in Enterprise how the food drive went. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jim Hughes) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Ellis D. Parker Elementary School students put selfless service into action by conducting a food drive Nov. 8 to Dec. 16 to help local churches stock up their food pantries.

Representatives from St. John the Evangelist Church in Enterprise and also St. John the Evangelist Church in Ozark stopped by the school Dec. 16 to receive the items from four school ambassadors, according to Yvette Esteves, reading specialist, who helped the students organize and carry out the event.

“I think the food drive went very well,” she said. “The parents and students responded so positively to the drive and donated a lot of food. We are so happy that we can provide some help to those who are experiencing difficult times in the Ozark and Enterprise communities.”

One of the school ambassadors, Courtney McKiver, a sixth grader, said she was happy with how the food drive went, as well.

“I really like helping the community,” she said. “We know a lot of people can’t get enough food for their families for the holidays. Normally, people have roast beef, chicken or turkey, and lots of other food, but we want to do our part to help those who aren’t able to get the food they need by setting up this drive.”

McKiver’s and the entire school’s efforts were greatly appreciated by the two churches, said Father Zachary Greenwell from St. John the Evangelist in Enterprise.

“They are absolutely helping the community,” he said. “This donation means a lot. We have a small food pantry at the parish where every Wednesday morning we hand out food bags to the needy in the community who come and ask for it. It’s great to be able to help them in any way we can.”

Father Chris Boutin of St. John the Evangelist in Ozark agreed, adding that it’s great to see children reaching out to help those in need.

“So far this year, we’ve given out over 33,000 pounds of food for people in the area,” he said. “There is a big need, and to see something like this with the school and the kids getting involved to help, especially during this time of the year, is such a joy to my heart to be a part of this. I’m very, very thankful for everything they’ve done.”

He added that this demonstration of goodwill says a lot about the school’s staff, students and parents.

“It speaks to the human nature: people are good and want to help other people – that desire is in their hearts,” Boutin said. “The give glory to God in the small things they do. Coming together and helping the people who need it this time of year, it’s just a great joy to be a priest and to witness.”