Lakota, Middletown and Mason Schools will battle to see who can collect the most donations for local families in need.

Battle brewing among Lakota, Middletown and Mason schools

Led by Reach Out Lakota the annual food drive is the largest campaign to feed needy families in West Chester and Liberty townships and it kicks off Friday at the Lakota West and Lakota East high school football game.

But while the Stuff The Bus food drive sees each of the district’s 23 schools donating for bragging rights, this year marks only the second time the competition is expanded, with Lakota taking on Middletown and Mason Schools.

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“The food drive is a great reminder of the immense impact we can have when we all come together for a common cause,” said Matt Miller, superintendent of Lakota Schools.

Betsy Fuller, spokeswoman for the 16,500-student district, said “this is our 11th year for the district-wide food drive benefitting Reach Out Lakota. … we brought the idea to our neighboring districts of Mason and Middletown as a fun competition between us, but ultimately, all three communities win.”

“Last year, we doubled our usual amount of donations from 18,000 to 20,000 to nearly 40,000 pounds” said Fuller.

Each district has chosen its own charity to support, she said.

Middletown Schools spokeswoman Elizabeth Beadle said “each (school) building will have bins set up for collection. We decided to donate all the items to our Middletown Success Liaisons since they serve our families directly.”

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Lakota’s Stuff The Bus campaign kicks off Friday at the East/West football game. From there, the buses will make stops at all of Lakota’s school buildings, wrapping up on Oct. 26.

On Oct. 29 “we’ll each bring our buses to a neutral location for the big reveal. The district with the largest amount collected will present their own spirit wear to the other two superintendents to be worn in their district on a certain date to be determined,” Fuller said.

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Peyton Gravely, CEO and executive director for Reach Out Lakota, said Lakota’s assistance in helping local families need has been invaluable.

“We are grateful for the continued support and partnership with Lakota Schools. We are very much intertwined and deeply rooted in meeting the needs of West Chester, Liberty Township and Lakota families together,” said Gravely.

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