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Building Trades renovates food pantry box

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The LPHS Building Trades class adopted and refurbished a local food pantry box, continuing their mission of giving back to La Porte.

La Porte is a community full of citizens always looking out for one another, and the pantry boxes are a prime example of that. Boxes placed around town are filled with non-perishable food items in case local citizens are in need. The five pantries are located at the Civic Auditorium, Center Township Trustee office, Sacred Heart Church, St. John Church, and the LaPorte Public Library.

LPHS Building Trades teacher Kirt Lawson was inspired to get involved after driving by these boxes and noticing they needed to be repaired. He knew it could be a project his class could do.  He contacted Lisa Pierzakowski, Center Township trustee, in hopes of taking over one of them. 

Lawson and his class put food in the food pantry every Friday. The hope is to ensure the people of La Porte are fed and cared for. Any type of clothing donations is also appreciated. 

“Our goal is to put around 16 cans per week in the pantries, and that’s around 570 for this school year, but it would be kind of cool if other clubs would maybe adopt one of the pantries,” Lawson said.

There are many people, even in La Porte, who are in need of basic necessities, and Lawson and his class are doing their part to make a difference and lend a helping hand.

“I know I’ve had students who would even use those pantries who could use those types of foods and clothing. Everyone in this town comes from a different background, and I just want them to know that if they give even one little thing a week, it makes them feel like they’re giving somebody something, and they’re contributing to their community to make it better,” Lawson said.

Before the pantry box was renovated, Lawson said they looked run down and in need of a purpose. Lawson and his class used the skills they learned and fixed the food pantry box by painting it orange and black, making a new door, fixing the plexiglass window, putting new hinges, a lock, and door handle to make the pantry look nicer.

The LPHS Building Trades class has also done a number of other projects that have positively impacted La Porte. In the past, they’ve built a pavilion at Ben Reeve’s Park as well as built a shelter at Luhr Park and helped with two Habitat for Humanity projects. Lawson himself has also built 23 houses in LaPorte County through his class.

“My class likes to help out the community as much as they can. Last year they also built dugouts at Clarke Field on the JV baseball field,” Lawson said.

This summer, the bridge near Stone Lake had a fire set on the walkway of the bridge.  When Lawson saw Mayor Dermody’s Facebook Live, his class stepped in before anyone became injured from the broken pieces of the bridge. They removed the old burnt boards and replaced them with new boards.

Lawson and his talented students are a true testament to how anyone could make an impact. They epitomize what it means to be a Slicer.

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