Enquirer Herald

Sisters driven to help fellow students with food, school supply collection

After all these years, Lauren and Payton Jubenville have taking and giving down to a science.

Lauren, 17, began collecting food to fill backpacks for students in need as a seventh-grader at Oakridge Middle School. This year will be her last at Clover High School. Sister Payton, 14, was a fourth-grader when the collections started.

“We saw there was such a great need in our community,” Lauren said. “You don’t expect that.”

The sisters decided to set a new mark this year.

“This year we’re expanding it to school supplies,” Lauren said.

The Herald and its sister community papers, the Enquirer-Herald, Lake Wylie Pilot and Fort Mill Times are partering with York County’s school districts for the annual school supply drive, which continues through Aug. 4.

In Clover, supplies will be distributed during a back-to-school bash in cooperation with Roosevelt Community Watch from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 9 at the District Resource Center.

Some groups in York and Clover are helping gather supplies. They include Woodlawn Presbyterian Church in Sharon, which is collecting school supplies to be donated to Hickory Grove-Sharon Elementary School, located near the church.

“There are needs to be met,” said Shirley Harris, a York school board member who attends Woodlawn Presbyterian.

Harris also said some of the church circles are donating items such as socks, underwear and shoes to the Hickory Grove-Sharon school nurse, who gives them to students in need.

Lauren and Payton planned to go out Monday last week to collect items but were rained out. They spent two hours the next morning taping food and school supply drive information to mailboxes, then two more hours that afternoon. They planned to pick up items Friday.

“We started with just our road,” Lauren said of the effort at Lake Wylie Road and ever-growing subdivisions off of it.

Before she was a school board member, parent Sherri Ciurlik helped organize school activities. She was one of the initial supporter for expanding the backpack program, where community donations and later grant money would provide students in need with food on weekends and during summer.

“She’s been doing it for six years,” Ciurlik said of Lauren. “When she found out what we were doing, she wanted to help.”

Ciurlik says her district isn’t short on compassionate students. She sees the Jubenvilles as simply intent on helping.

“She’s a really neat kid,” Ciurlik said. “Whenever you have a kid who’s doing the right things for the right reasons – she didn’t start out doing this to put it on a college application.”

Mom Lisa said a typical year brings “almost two SUVs full” of food. One year they made three trips.

“They’re putting out between 300 and 325 fliers each year,” Lisa said. “We probably have five or six families (who) call us to pick up (large donations).”

This year there are 50 families receiving assistance through the food program.

“You don’t realize that’s right here,” Lisa said.

The Jubenvilles have other activities. Both swim at the school, and Lauren sings with the Choraliers. But during the summer, they’re happy to turn attention to others in need.

“They have crates of stuff they pick up,” Payton said of some participating families. “(Schools) can use it all year long, for the weekend.”

Lauren doesn’t yet know where she’ll attend college, but hopes to be back next summer collecting food for the district. Either way, it will happen. After so many years helping, Payton wouldn’t know what else to do.

“If she’s not, I will continue it,” Payton said.