- Associated Press - Saturday, December 9, 2017

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) - It was raining pasta at Weeden Elementary on Dec. 4 - more specifically, macaroni and cheese.

The school participated, along with all other Florence city schools, in the second annual Shoals Area Association of Realtors Mac and Cheese Drive to benefit the Salvation Army.

Students across the district spent the past two weeks collecting the boxed pasta dinners, which will go to families in need throughout the Shoals during Christmas and beyond.

Realtor Bill Griffin, who is also a Florence school board member, has gone school to school loading the boxes for delivery. In all, the school system collected 3,002 boxes, including Weeden’s contribution of more than 200.

“Our goal was 200 boxes and we collected even more than that,” said Kylie Humphrey a fourth-grader and president of the Weeden Student Council.

“A lot of kids brought mac and cheese in and we sent notes home to parents and had signs hanging around to remind them,” Humphrey said.

The fundraiser, according to Humphrey and the other student council members gathered to load the trailer Monday, was their way of providing food for hungry kids.

Third-grader Rahjiem Johnson said it wasn’t hard to collect the food because, “everybody likes mac and cheese, and most of us had some at home that we could bring.”

A bright yellow wagon was stationed near the school’s office door the past several days as a drop-off.

This year, the school system collected 1,000 more boxes than last year.

Griffin said it’s a valuable fundraiser and one that everyone can participate in.

“The idea originated with a desire to collect comfort food for families but affordable enough that all our students could bring something,” Griffin said. “All kids like mac and cheese, so it was the obvious item to have them bring.”

According to Salvation Army Captain Benjamin Deuel, 514 area families are receiving Christmas assistance, including food bags containing items used for a traditional Christmas dinner.

“These donations help us out tremendously at Christmas, of course, but also during the rest of the year,” Deuel said.

“The Realtors association has been so good to us at the Salvation Army and is always willing to help us out. Fundraisers like this that involve school children are just a win-win for us all.”

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Information from: TimesDaily, http://www.timesdaily.com/

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