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Event Teaches Kids About Politics, Hunger

When Recruiting Sales Manager Stuart Stephenson heard about WoodmenLife’s Pick Your CANdidate event idea at a managers’ conference in February, he couldn’t wait to get started.

He took the idea back to Chapter 46 in Waxahachie, TX, and members were also excited about a food drive that allows elementary students to “vote” for presidential candidates by donating canned goods.

Stephenson and chapter members quickly planned an event in coordination with the March 1 Texas presidential primaries.

“I went by the school administration office and got their take on the plan. They loved it and sent out an email to the 11 school campuses. Eight responded that they would participate,” Stephenson said.

Branching Out

Stephenson also contacted a local Chick-fil-A, and the franchise agreed to offer a “nugget tray party” to the class on each campus that donated the most items. A local department store donated boxes to set up at the schools for food item collection. Stephenson and the chapter members also worked with a local food bank to let them know about the event, and to find out which items were most needed.

The team set up nine boxes at each school, representing the seven Republican and two Democrat nominees in the primaries. The children could use each food item donated as a “vote” for a candidate. The schools had just two days to vote, but turnout was overwhelming, with donations totaling 5,030 items and weighing 4,402 pounds.

“It blew us away,” Stephenson said. Dunaway Elementary, the most economically challenged school in the district, brought in the most items. “They always taught the kids to give to give from the heart and to pass on help when they can, much the same way as they have been helped. We walked in the cafeteria where there was a stage full of almost 2,800 cans and products. Our mouths dropped and tears came to our eyes from the incredible outpouring of giving.”

In the end, the students “predicted” the outcome of the primaries. Cruz and Trump got most of the Republican votes and Clinton beat Sanders overall on the Democrat side.

The team will hold another event for the general election in November. “We look forward to having all the materials that [the Fraternal Outreach Department] has already prepared and planning well in advance … and getting a big truck and enlisting high schoolers to help us load and deliver!”

Read more about this food drive here.

Talking to Kids About Politics

The upcoming election is a great way to talk to your children about the U.S. government and how it works. Click here for more information.

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