For a week cans of food stacked up in Chad Patterson’s class at Cope Middle School.

They provided critical learning opportunities for his class of middle schoolers with autism and will provide many meals for residents of Volunteers of America’s clients.

Patterson said many of his students still need to work on basic skills such as counting and sorting, so they sponsored a school-wide canned food drive with the winning homeroom earning a pizza party.

Then the class delivered about 300 cans to the HOPE Basket, our pantry which supplies food to our group homes and Adult Day Health Center. Each day Volunteers of America serves about 300 meals throughout our programs.

“When we got there and this kids put them in the correct spot — that’s something my kids will do career wise,” he said. “They will always have assisted employment.”

While the students don’t all understand the importance of the project, they enjoy collecting the cans each day.

“They love it, and it really does push them further than I would in the classroom,” Patterson said.

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