EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – It’s only been a week or two since school let out for the summer, and some Edwardsville kids are already hard at work, teaming up with local police to get food to those in need.

“I really have enjoyed talking to people and helping people out by giving them canned goods,” Emarosa Marcus said. “I would love to do it again next year.”

The Edwardsville Police Department led its 26th annual Youth Academy, where children were busy going around the Edwardsville area collecting nonperishable food items, to be delivered on Tuesday to the Glen-Ed Pantry. Officer Jarrod Sprinkle said the Youth Academy is always looking for ways to show its students how to be good citizens.

“In our camp, we teach leadership, teamwork, and just working together to help the community,” he said. “And that’s some of the building blocks we try to give them in these two weeks, including, of course, this community service project.”

Officer Sprinkle drove the D.A.R.E. car around the area to pick up donated food items. They were then placed in the Liberty Middle School District building, where everything will stay until it’s time to take them to the pantry.

“This is my first year here, and I think it’s been a really good time. It’s a good impression, I would say,” Blake Plummer said.

“I didn’t know if there was going to be a lot of kids or little kids, or if I was going to get along with all of the people, but I’d say it has lived up to pretty nice expectations. People are nice. The staff are nice,” Veronica Noronha said.