By Allison Li
As Thanksgiving comes and goes, the canned food drive does as well. It has been a longstanding tradition at East to help others in the spirit of giving and kindness and participate in the donation of goods. Students and teachers at East are all able to contribute to our wonderful community themselves by donating canned foods. Canned vegetables, boxed stuffing and potatoes, gravy, cranberries and boxed desserts were all examples of the diversity of items being brought in and donated. The food goes to over 400 families in Western New York, ensuring a great Thanksgiving dinner. Cans are also sent to Amherst Senior Centre, Hispanics United of Buffalo, Citizens Community Development Corporation, Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Journey’s End, Amherst Youth Board, Cornerstone Manor, City Mission, Families Helping Families/Foster Parent Network and Community Action Organization.
East’s principal, Brian Swatland described the food drive as showing,“the caring climate here, and the way students are able to give back to the community. Volunteering, philanthropy, those are all great things to have and things to do – it makes you feel good. And to be part of the highest total ever was unbelievable!” And indeed it is – many students have been contributing to the food drive, clearly shown by the raw numbers of cans donated.
The past few weeks, there have been bins for each class, the faculty, and the music department in front of the main office to drop off donated cans. The freshman donated 254 cans, the sophomores collected 1887 cans, the juniors brought in a total of 227 cans, and the seniors also contributed with 1926 cans! Finally, the faculty donated 163, and the music department donated 255. This all totalled up for a final stunning amount of 4712 cans! That’s the highest amount ever collected before, breaking all previous records.
The food drive often creates a fiercely competitive environment between grade levels at East, who each want to collect the greatest number of cans. Before the event officially ended on Friday, November 16th, the sophomores had been in the lead with the number of cans. Some teachers create an additional incentive, offering extra credit for those who donate. However, the seniors have a lot of pride, being the top of the school. At one point, they began bringing cans in the trunks of their cars. At the last minute, they finally managed to surpass the sophomores and claim the position of greatest number of cans donated. Regardless, this competitive spirit is beneficial in that it motivates students quite a bit, which then leads to more and more cans being donated in attempts to surpass other classes.
The 2018 Thanksgiving Food Drive was a massive success, representing how East creates an environment of gratitude and selflessness. The cans we collected were able to positively impact our community, and is something to be proud of. Thanks to your help, we were able to demonstrate what a great school East really is – and it couldn’t have been accomplished without your contribution!