Oak Harbor students fill school bus for Help House

Leland Deutscher isn’t exactly sure what’s in all 300 cans of food his mom dropped off — but he does know this: He likes helping people.

Francis Bagarella

Leland Deutscher isn’t exactly sure what’s in all 300 cans of food his mom dropped off — but he does know this: He likes helping people.

The 8-year-old Crescent Harbor Elementary student was among hundreds across Oak Harbor who raided the cupboards and hit up neighbors to collect food for the hungry.

“Some people can’t make enough money at their job and they need free food,” he explained.

His family’s donation helped put Deb Rusnak’s third grade class ahead in the can race. The progress was measured on a chart with each teacher’s name on a yellow, paper school bus.

The top collectors gathered Tuesday to fill two school buses and deliver the items to the North Whidbey Help House.

In total, children across the district gathered a total of 16,880 items.

Crescent Harbor Principal Kate Valenzuela said it’s a fun competition but it’s also about teaching children to be good citizens.

“Our schools are connected to the community and it’s important for kids to see that,” she said.

Volunteers from the Navy showed up to help unload the food at Help House. They filled a double-garage full.

The Help House needs food year-round and this donation should keep families fed for a few months.

The nonprofit also puts together special boxes for Thanksgiving that will go out to 600 families this year, said assistant director Eric Mager.


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