Middletown students pack up food for needy classmates

MIDDLETOWN — A first-year business partnership at a Middletown school is making sure students from needy families have food and more for the holiday season.

Students at Middletown’s Wildwood Elementary happily packed food parcels for classmates from low-income households earlier this week with the help of the school’s business partner BGR Packaging.

The donated food program, which was coordinated by Cincinnati-based Adopt A Class (AAC) charitable organization, was the first AAC effort with a Butler County school and already a successful one, said organizers.

“We are very fortunate to be the pilot program for Adopt A Class … our campus is the flagship to start this program and it’s such a rewarding experience for our kids here,” said Wildwood Elementary Principal Veanna Narcisse.

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The school’s BGR Packaging partner, which visits the school once a month for various educational and career-oriented activities, “takes a genuine interest in our students,” said Narcisse.

“We also have nine different companies working with our kids and we are very fortunate,” she said.

Middletown Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. praised his district’s new program, saying the food donations collected at BGR’s area offices were used by third graders this week to pack up 50 boxes.

And each recipient student’s family also received pairs of donated Crocs shoes as did their classmates who boxed up the donations Wednesday for later delivery.

The holiday packages, said Styles, will go “to Wildwood families who could benefit the most” all the while teaching the third graders prepping the donations about “the importance of being philanthropic together.”

Phil Snyder, president and CEO of BGR Packaging, joined in this month’s school visit and said “we are super excited to be here.”

BGR is one of more than 150 Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky companies working with AAC to partner with the region’s schools.

AAC’s new partnership with Middletown schools already has more than 300 students who are being mentored by a 100-plus adult volunteers from 13 Middletown area corporate and civic partners.

Participating schools also visit their partner companies to better help students understand the adult work world and possible careers.

Narcisse said the charitable effort helps give her students a first-hand practice “about the season of giving and doing nice things for other people is the big message and really a great experience to witness.”

(Photojournalist Nick Graham contributed to this story)

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