By Mary Ellen Psaltis
Brady Olson’s Advanced Placement Government & Politics students at North Thurston High School already have schedules filled with classes, sports, jobs and after school activities, but they’ve taken on an extra challenge.
The three classes of NTHS seniors have set an epic goal to collect over 12,000 cans of food for the Thurston County Food Bank before school closes in December for winter break. That’s more than enough to fill a garage. It’s more than enough to fill a few empty pantries.
Over thirty students met after school for their first organizational session. Tyler Reece stepped up as facilitator. Reece has already been accepted at the United States Military Academy West Point where he will likely be studying chemistry. He is following in the footsteps of his parents. His father also attended West Point and his mother also served in the Army.
“I want to see how a group of students can come together to make a difference,” he said grinning. It’s an opportunity to practice his leadership skills, suggested Mr. Olson, who was also present for the after school meeting. In short order, jobs were enumerated and assignments taken as the enthusiasm continued to build.
Over the course of the next month, please keep your eyes and hearts open to this thoughtful group of students. They’ll be standing in the damp breezy weather in front of grocery stores and canvassing Lacey neighborhoods for your extra cans of food. All the food collected heads directly to our local food bank.
The entire North Thurston High School will be participating in the canned food collection, but Mr. Olson’s students plan to raise the stakes, in fact, surpassing all previous achievements. Four years ago, his AP seniors exceeded their goal of 10,000 cans by over a thousand. That’s a lot of cans.
During the food drive, other local high schools will also be collecting for the food drive. According to Carol Vannerson, who has volunteered at the downtown food back for more than five years, this school food drive is second in volume only to the postal carriers’ drive. She stressed that the food bank truly depends on these donations.
Here is a list from the Food Bank of more nutritious and desirable possibilities. Do keep the ramen to yourself.
- High protein food such as canned chili, peanut butter, beans, or canned meat
- Pasta and macaroni and cheese
- Canned fruit and vegetables
- Baby Food and formula
- Fresh fruits and vegetables that store well in a refrigerator. Home-grown produce is most welcome. Please see the produce page for more details.
If you are interested in learning more about everything that happens at the food bank or want to become a volunteer, click here.
Focus your attention on these young people who going out of their way to help their community. Many of the students know other students who are regular beneficiaries of the food bank. Did you know that approximately half of the food distributed is handed to individuals who are 16 years old or younger? These food donations address hunger right here. Thank you for filling up your sacks and passing them along.