For the 13th time running, Westside Elementary School opened its kitchen to scores of families for its annual Fall Potato Feed, Silent Auction and Raffle on Oct. 10.

The kitchen was staffed, not by the usual lunch ladies, but by teachers who volunteered their time after school to feed their students’ families to help raise money for their school.

Westside Principal Mary Beth Bennett said the event makes funds available for activities for students, enhancing their learning experience.

“We’ve gone to the symphony before and we have to pay for the kids to get in. So there’s no cost for the kids, and a lot of reward activities for them,” she said.

The money also helps fund the pirate store.

“Anything for the kids, that’s what it’s for,” Bennett said.

Those buying baked potatoes got their choice of toppings, including homemade chili made by Westside teachers. Drinks and dessert were included.

Bennett says the annual feed came about as a means of fundraising specifically for Westside.

“We used to be partners with the primary school and did a spring carnival, and we weren’t making much money off of that,” Bennett said. “And we thought, ‘Well, gosh, we could do our own thing.’ And so the first time we did this we made quite a bit of money. And it was fun. … And it was profitable for the kids. And so we’ve been doing it ever since.”

Bennett said the school’s connections helped them with obtaining food for this year’s fundraiser.

“We got money donations, and we use that to purchase items, products, We ordered them through our kitchen services so that we get a better rate.”

A total of 150 adult dinners and 93 student dinners were served at this year’s potato feed, bringing in a total of $2,300. This was down approximately $1,800 from 2018.

Potatoes were supplied by several local businesses, prizes were donated by local businesses and several local families, and many others gave of their resources, as well, according to Bennett.

Bennett thanks, “all of the people who supply things to us for now, at no cost, because that’s just more money for us to use for the kids, of course, and all the people who are committed to helping.

“It’s a lot of work,” she said.

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