GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of school children in Gautier are helping to feed the hungry this holiday season. Two weeks ago, Gautier Elementary challenged the students to collect 1,500 canned goods. The students beat that goal. So on Friday, they were treated to a very "Messy Assembly."
It was one messy competition. Standing behind and with their eyes closed, the teachers had to feed the students vanilla pudding. And talk about a close shave, another group of teachers had to shave a balloon without popping it. The "Messy Assembly" honored students at Gautier Elementary for collecting 2,526 cans of food.
"It's important for the students to help, to know that there are people in the community that need the help. And no matter how big or how small you are, you can make a difference," said Food Drive Coordinator Cherrie Miles.
Over the last two weeks, the school offered incentives to encourage the students to participate, like getting to watch their teachers shake their turkey feathers. The highlight of the event was watching principal Dawn Jordan pucker up to a live alligator.
"I thought it would be fun and to see Mrs. Jordan kiss an alligator," said second grader Presley Ross.
All the food will be donated to the American Legion Post 1992 to make Christmas baskets.
"There's nothing more than watching the energy of these children. What we did when we came in earlier today, I got all my members up and we saluted the children," said American Legion Post 1992 Commander Bill Whatley.
"We give them to the people that need them. It makes me happy," said Presley.
At the end of the celebration, the teachers whose class collected the most cans got a pie in the face.
"Oh, it's wonderful. I get emotional sometimes because I sit and I think, I want it to be fun, I want it to be safe, I want everybody to have a good time, and I want them to make great memories," said Miles.
American Legion Post 1992 will make the food baskets for churches, veterans, and other families in need. Any extra food will be donated to local soup kitchens.