Annual Lakota food drive takes on Hamilton, Mason schools

For the first time the annual Reach Out Lakota food drive is reaching out to some neighboring school systems to help feed the needy.

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The fall classic food drive is sponsored by the charitable organization that every fall pits Lakota East against Lakota West high schools.

But now in its 10th year, the food drive has new competitors — nearby Hamilton Schools and Warren County’s Mason Schools.

The idea of Lakota Schools’ new superintendent Matt Miller, the broadened food drive is a first to include three of northern suburban Cincinnati’s largest school systems.

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“This year, we will be working together as one Lakota to beat out two neighboring school districts — Mason Schools and Hamilton Schools. Regardless of the outcome, think of it as three communities winning,” said Miller, who began leading the 16,500-student Lakota district in August.

“We will kick off the competition at the Sept. 29’s Lakota East vs. Lakota West football game. The community will be invited to bring their donations to the game, with the drive continuing in our schools as it normally does through Oct. 25. The final collection points will be Oct. 27 at the last home games of the year with East vs. Mason and West vs. Hamilton,” said Miller.

“A (school) district-level ‘wager’ is in the works,” along with other details of the new charitable competition are still being worked out, said Miller.

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Food donated will go to each school system’s community.

Peyton Gravely, director of fundraising for Reach Out Lakota, welcomed the idea.

“It’s amazing. It’s a win-win not only for Reach Out Lakota — and not only for the East versus West competition — but it will also help the Mason and Hamilton schools communities, which is a great thing,” said Gravely.

The annual food drive is the largest campaign to feed needy, area families each year, said Gravely.

Joni Copas, spokeswoman for the 10,000-student Hamilton Schools, said, “the Hamilton school district is proud that our students show compassion to help those in need.”

“We know that food drives benefit families in all communities and we are happy to participate in this food drive campaign at the Lakota West versus Hamilton High School football game,” said Copas.

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