Community Council organizes food drive

Grant Park

Community Council organized a Thanksgiving food drive for North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry beginning Nov. 9. The council set a goal of 4,000 donations by Nov. 18 and offered students service hours for contributing items to the drive.

Students can earn one hour of community service credit for every 10 items of canned food or pet food. They can also donate five items of hygiene products to gain a maximum of two total service hours.

Community Council members created competition groups for the drive by dividing upper school students into their nine dean groups and forming a single faculty group. 

If the donation goal is reached, the council will provide donuts for all students on the Quad, and the winning group will operate a dunk tank. If the goal of 4,000 items is achieved by a single student group, Community Council will hold a pizza party for that group, and if it is reached by a teacher group, the teachers will be rewarded with a coffee cart. 

Community Council member Jade Zoller ’22  said she and fellow Community Council member Andrew Reiter chose to organize the drive as a competition to encourage more student participation in the food drive. 

“We wanted to get as much of the [school] community involved as possible and [we thought], ‘What better way to do that than= to hold a competition for a good cause?’” Zoller said. “Overall, we wanted to show how easy it is to help give back to the school community.” 

Counselor and Interdisciplinary Studies and Independent Research Teacher Michelle Bracken said the drive will benefit an organization local to the school community. 

“We have a relationship with the [North Hollywood Interfaith Food Pantry]; we know they’re a local place and they service locally, and that’s one of the things that attracts us to that particular organization,” Bracken said. “Our hope is that during the pandemic, lots of the things on the shelves went to [those in need], and we [need to] replenish the cans and food for people so they can be served during the holidays.”

Rustom Malhotra ’24 said he looks forward to donating items and personally contributing to the community. 

“I think it is always important to make an effort to give back to our community,” Malhotra said. “I would also encourage others who have access to these resources to consider donating, as you might not be aware of the difference you can make, even [if it is] only for a single family.”

Community Council member Mac Bailey ’23 said he hopes everyone enjoys the festivities of Thanksgiving but also wants to stress the significance of donating to local communities now more than ever, considering the exacerbation of various social and economic conditions because of COVID-19. 

“Despite the light-hearted sentiments associated with Thanksgiving, giving back during this time is especially important due to the increased suffering from the pandemic,” Bailey said. “As we are all blessed at [this school], we should all participate in this drive to have some fun [if awarded the prize], but more importantly, we should do so to help give back to our community.”