The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Cereal drive helps community

February 24, 2020


McKenzie Quirin

Helping the Community Student Council runs a cereal drive collection to help the local food banks and local families. This drive will be from Feb 3 through Feb 28.

Various clubs contribute to a variety of organizations including local food banks, the humane society and the local community. One collection is the cereal drive collection run by student council. The cereal drive ran from Feb. 3 through Feb. 28. 

In the past, the school has been able to collect and donate hundreds to thousands of boxes of cereal. Kimberly Shope, head of student council and community service, and all student council members manage the cereal drive every year, extending the offer out to teachers and students to participate.

“We have been fortunate for our school to actively participate and have the community and faculty express their needs to support the cereal drive,” Shope said. “I think it is important because it allows us to pull together to support the local communities while having the food banks reach out to us as a local community to help.”

Mathematics teachers Joseph Falger and Natalie Trimmer, social studies teacher James Lowe and English teacher Tabitha Quinn are a few among the staff who take part in the cereal drive every year.

“I started participating in the cereal drive last year when Lowe was out due to his kidney transplant. He remains dedicated to the cereal drive, and I wanted my classes to help,” Falger said. 

The staff believes it is important to participate in the cereal drive to eliminate shortages of food at food banks and give back to the community. 

“The food bank and pantries often experience a shortage in their donations this time of year. Many families and individuals in our community from infants and toddlers to senior citizens are food insecure. It is certainly a great benefit to help supplement families and individuals with food, especially cereal as many people know the importance of a healthy start of the day with breakfast or a solid snack at any time of the day or night.  Above all, by donating cereal, students, staff and teachers not only gain an act of kindness or giving, but food banks and pantries create a presence in our community,” Quinn said.

“It is important to participate in the cereal drive because it is a way to give back to our community,” Falger said.

“Because it is important that everybody looks out for everyone in their community. We can only be a strong healthy prosperous community when we look out for not only our needs but the needs of others,” Trimmer said.

Bringing in cereal boxes and participating in the drive has given life lessons to teachers.

“I have learned that if everybody contributes a small amount we can make a big difference,” Trimmer said.

“Many people take food for granted and much waste occurs globally. With myriad distractions of our daily lives of work, families, extracurricular activities,  the food drives and cereal drives are informal, yet an important event that promotes a positive compassionate atmosphere bridging our school and community together. The volunteer efforts are phenomenal, regardless of the incentives,” Quinn said.

To bring in more cereal boxes the teachers create different competitions within their classes.

“I turn the cereal drive into a competition among my classes.  This not only makes it more fun, but it increases the amount of cereal that is donated to our local food banks,” Falger said.

“Within my classes, I like to capitalize on opportunities for students to donate boxes of cereal as a bonus incentive.  Teaming up with other staff members or other classes in a competitive drive has been eventful over the years, especially last year when we helped to surprise Lowe.  The classes built a wall of cereal boxes for Lowe for him to see upon his return from his kidney transplant,” Quinn said.

Two students in Falgers’ calculus class created a way for their class to bring in the most cereal boxes.

“My calculus class wanted to try and break our previous total of 1600 boxes, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to help give back to the community. [Senior] Dominic Fasolo and I sent out letters to our neighbors, trying to get as much help as possible so we could make a bigger impact,” senior Joseph Saylor said.

Both Saylor and Fasolo believe it is important that participating in this drive helps the students’ very own peers. 

“It is important to help in the cereal drive because bringing in so many boxes affects the community and local food banks tremendously which makes me happy to be able to be a part in it,” Fasolo said.

“I think it’s important to help participate because some of our very own peers may be receiving some of this cereal. You never know what someone could be going through, so it’s very rewarding to think that you have helped make a difference in someone’s life,” Saylor said. Student council recognizes the support from the faculty and students for the continuous effort and participation in this drive. 

“We just appreciate that the students and faculty support the food drive for the community, and we can help so many families in our area,” Shope said.

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