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Walden students lead the way, donate 600 boxes of food and raise more than $10K ahead of Thanksgiving

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The giant check

Left to right: Walden III Student Government President Maren DeSonia, Racine Food Bank Executive Director Dan Taivalkoski and Racine Mayor Cory Mason hold up a handmade check to represent Walden's donation of $10,927 to the bank. On the stage behind them are the 600 boxes of food Walden students collected for the Racine County Food Bank.

RACINE — Students at Walden III collected over 600 boxes of food, and more than $10,000, for the Racine County Food Bank.

The students were joined Tuesday at the gymnasium in Walden III, 2340 Mohr Ave., by Dan Taivalkoski, executive director of the Racine County Food Bank and Racine Mayor Cory Mason in a celebration of their efforts — and to find out how much the students collected for the bank, 2000 De Koven Ave.

Mayor Mason with the boxes of food.

Racine Mayor Cory Mason speaks to a crowd of students at Walden III, 2340 Mohr Ave., Tuesday morning after they have collected 600 boxes of food and over $10,000 for the Racine County Food Bank. 

“Every year it amazes me that you’re able to do this again and again,” Mason said, “and provide tons of meals, literally tons of meals, to the community. So it really makes a huge difference that you all do this ... I can’t tell you how inspiring it is, to me as your mayor, to see all of you working on what inspires you to be grateful to give back to your community.”

Walden III’s food collection is an annual event, with students spending the month of November collecting food for the food bank. This is the first time Mason has joined them for the celebration since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

All together, the students collected 600 boxes of food and $10,927 for the bank. Taivalkoski told the students that their efforts provides enough food to feed families in need in the City of Racine for a month.

“I get emotional every year you call me here,” Taivalkoski said, “because this is just huge for us; unbelievable what you guys do for us.”

For the third year in a row, Walden is the second largest food drive in Racine County, second only to the National Association of Letter Carriers, the union that represents non-rural U.S. Postal Service mail carrier.

“If I’m looking out at the future of this community out here in this crowd,” Taivalkoski said, “I think we are in very good hands.”

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Raised just outside of McHenry, Illinois, Alex is the business reporter and staff photographer for The Journal Times. He considers himself a Clark Kent and Jimmy Olsen all-in-one. Alex is a graduate of SIUC in Carbondale, Illinois. Twitter: @arodatjt

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