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Hightower Trail, wholesale club team up for food drive

Cine Brown and Crystal Smith worked out a plan to build their replica car in the BJ's parking lot. The event collected between $2,500 and $3,000 worth of food for the Atlanta Community Food Bank that will be distributed in the Conyers area.

Cine Brown and Crystal Smith worked out a plan to build their replica car in the BJ's parking lot. The event collected between $2,500 and $3,000 worth of food for the Atlanta Community Food Bank that will be distributed in the Conyers area.

CONYERS -- Hightower Trail Elementary School teamed up with the Conyers BJ's Wholesale Club and AARP to collect food for area families.

The Drive to End Hunger event at BJ's Thursday evening collected between $2,500 to $3,000 worth of food for the Atlanta Community Food Bank that will be distributed in the Conyers area, said Susie Meacham, community relations specialist for BJ's.

"It went very well; we had a very good turnout," she said, adding that it was an effort to raise awareness about the need for food donations, the food bank and keeping healthy foods on the table for families.

More than 30 students and 15 parents from Hightower Trail participated in the event by building a NASCAR race car out of food items.

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Teams from Hightower Trail had to replicate this car within 24 minutes.

"They all had a blast," said Lisa Scheaffer, parent involvement coordinator at HTE. "The whole idea was to come out and have fun and give back to the food bank. It really hits home to know that these donations could help one of our families."

Attendees also participated in race car events and coloring activities, received prizes and took pictures with the No. 24 Jeff Gordon NASCAR car.

"It was quite an event," Meacham said.

BJ's, which is a partner in education for Hightower Trail, will provide the school with an ice cream party and other donations later this year for helping out.

Additionally, BJ's will hold a fundraiser for Hightower Trail later this year in which $5 from customers who sign up for a BJ's membership will be donated to the school.

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Staff Photos: Erin Evans Kennedy Stephens, a third-grader at Hightower Trail Elementary School, retrieved supplies and ran back to her team's station for the car building competition at Thursday's Drive to End Hunger event at BJ's Wholesale Club. Teams competed to build a replica NASCAR race car out of food items.

Scheaffer said partners like BJ's help Hightower Trail become a better school. By the end of last school year, Hightower had more than 40 business partners assist the school with monetary donations, special on-site programs and volunteering as a tutor or mentor.

"It's a joint effort -- it takes parent involvement and the community to help us out," Scheaffer said, adding that the school uses many donations for student resources, student incentives and special awards programs.