By MEGHA TORPUNURI
UHS recently held a canned food drive from November 9 to November 20, soliciting cans to donate to Families Forward. There was a lunchfest on Friday November 12, where teams of the seniors and freshmen, sophomores and juniors, and the staff all competed for the best can structure.
“I’m so happy with how the food drive has turned out,” said Service Projects Commissioner Sharika Hegde (Sr.), who helped coordinate the canned food drive. “We haven’t counted all the cans we have yet but I’m sure we’re very close to our school goal of 5,000. I think the can structure lunchfest was a great way to publicize the food drive and I’m really happy with how many clubs donated cans as well! Although we didn’t have a homeroom competition, I think we were still extremely successful!”
Clubs were encouraged to donate cans, and service clubs were required to donate at least 10 cans. Service clubs’ can donations will be used to evaluate their second semester reapprovals. ASB will create a leaderboard on its website to publicize which clubs donated the most cans to Families Forward.
“The can drive is a great cause that shows how we can take initiative and directly impact our community,” said Pooja Yadav (Sr.), President of UNICEF. “For me the drive is especially meaningful because we are helping families, which means we are helping kids, the main purpose of UNICEF. Our club has donated and we are also looking forward to going out and helping package canned food at the facilities.”
Families Forward is an Orange County nonprofit organization, originally intended to provide for the homeless population. Families Forward has now expanded, with a food pantry providing for over 6,000 families annually; it also offers life-skills counseling and back-to-school programs. In order to qualify for the food pantry, one must live in South Orange County or be homeless.
Food insecurity is becoming a larger problem in Orange County as income disparities increase. According to Feed OC, from 2009-2013, 12.4% of the Orange County population were below the poverty level. In addition, 20.6% of children living in Orange County are food insecure while 50% of Orange County students enrolled in public schools use the government’s Free and Reduced Lunch Plan.
Update: The food drive collected enough cans to feed 5,000 families.