Ira Cross, Adopted Unit Raise Food

Ira Cross Elementary School donated 2,616 food items
By: Todd Martin
Generous giving and service to others are part of the expectation of the relationship between Ira Cross Elementary School and its Fort Hood adoptive unit, but no one expected this.
The 11th Signal Brigade engaged the leadership at the Killeen school to join the military unit in raising food for residents in need.
On Monday, following the drive that extended the month of April, soldiers and students carted out approximately 2,616 food items.
The school’s National Elementary Honor Society, along with a group of volunteer soldiers filled the bed of two pickups and the back of another vehicle, all for drop off at the Killeen Food Care Center and Operation Phantom Support.
Lt. Sarah Davis said her brigade responded to the challenge with similar excitement. She said in all, the unit and school would likely donate more than 3,500 food items to the two pantries.
“It’s way more than we expected,” she said of the huge box of donations on the cafeteria stage and the numerous other filled boxes.
School and unit leaders seemed in agreement that this year, with the limitations brought on by COVID-19 that everyone was excited to do something for a good cause.
The winter storm in February added fuel to the desire, Davis said, explaining that many soldiers stepped up to assist the community.
The connection between Ira Cross and its adopted unit has been strong a long time.
“The soldiers love to do anything with the school,” Davis said. “The relationship strengthens the community and I think it often opens our eyes to the resources available in both the military and the KISD community.”
“Taking care of our own is important.”
Fifth-grader Aiden Sanchez, president of the Ira Cross National Elementary Honor Society said he and his friends enjoyed promoting the drive and assisting the soldiers with loading the donations for delivery.
Throughout the month, elementary honor society students delivered donations from classrooms to the cafeteria stage before hauling the load to the soldiers’ vehicles.
“It was fun being with my friends, putting the food on the carts,” he said. “I was surprised. I didn’t expect all those cans.”
School Counselor Crystal Castillo and Parent Liaison Kaili Franklin-Stanton knew their campus responds to a challenge and to a competition for a good cause.
“Classes got excited,” Castillo said. “There is a lot of competitive spirit here. They were all in. It definitely far exceeded my expectations.”