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The fifth grade class is hoping to make the holidays easier for some West Linn families.

The fifth grade class of Sunset Primary is hosting its annual food drive, with all donations going to the West Linn Food Pantry.

Since 1969, Sunset Primary's fifth graders have held a food drive in an endeavor to collect as many non-perishable food products as possible. This year, the students have collected about 1700 cans, and they hope to collect 2,022 donations before Dec. 16.

In a letter to families, the fifth grade class wrote that one-in-four Oregon families go hungry each year.

"We need to save our home of West Linn from hunger," the students said in the letter.

Fifth grade teacher Joey Handley said that last year, the students orchestrated a drive-thru canned food drive, where community members dropped off a record-number of items.

"I think the need is even greater than ever, with the pandemic. People are still feeling the effects of that. Last year was one of our most successful years. So we are hoping for the same community support again this year," Handley said.

As soon as the students returned to their classroom after Thanksgiving break, they got to work creating flyers and spreading the word about the drive. And as the cans started rolling in, they began to count them.

Community members can drop off non-perishable food, such as canned and boxed items, at the school's front office. Hygiene products like shampoo, toothbrushes and socks are also welcome.

"It's a collective effort from all the fifth graders, as well as all of the families that are part of the Sunset community. It's an event that brings our whole school community together every year," said Handley.

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