The 2020-21 school year has had a rough beginning and continues to be challenging for students, staff, and all involved. Although times have been unique, to say the least, for students everywhere, the Riverbank High School FFA wanted to do something to help out those that are less fortunate. For the past few weeks they hosted a canned food drive where 365 cans were collected.
The FFA Officers are President Cali Laughlin, Vice President Leilani Bynum, Secretary Myte Romero, Treasurer Tessa Price, and Reporter/Sentinel Nathan Rummerfield. FFA Instructor Brittney Thomas has been at RHS for the past two years and was thrilled that her students wanted to do a canned food drive for the community. There are 124 FFA students at RHS this year.
“During the holiday season we wanted to make a change,” stated FFA President Cali Laughlin. “As a team we want to make sure no one goes hungry. So saying that, we decided to do a COVID-safe drive through food drive; this is the season of giving back and helping others.”
The contributions received were donated to the Riverbank Pentecostal Church of God and food bank. The FFA program is known to do acts of community service each year. Although COVID-19 has made the drive a bit more challenging the students wanted to have it anyway and plan on hosting a toy drive in December.
“The holidays are here and during this time of the year we wanted to make everyone feel at home,” said Leilani Bynum, FFA Vice President. “So our team figured what’s a great way we can help others in need and do it safely due to COVID-19. We figured as a team it would be better to start little and that was with our canned food drive which was a great success. We can’t wait to show everyone what our FFA has in store this year. Keeping our community and others safe during the holidays is our main priority. We love putting bright smiles on everyone’s faces during this very stressful time.”
The canned food drive began on Nov. 9 and ended on Nov. 19. They were only allowed to drop off cans on campus two days during the week. Normally the students would have a big event collecting cans on campus during the school week but due to COVID this was not possible.
“They wanted to do something that would benefit the community during this whole COVID thing,” added Thomas. “Normally we would raise more with students actually being on campus. They did pretty well for not being able to be on campus every day and bring them whenever they wanted. They did really well.”
People donated a variety of canned foods like soups and veggies as well as some dry food like top ramen and cake mixes. All the goods received were donated to the church. The church also has a food bank and last Saturday they held a dinner for the homeless in Riverbank. Participants got a hot meal and bag of food at the dinner.
“The officer team definitely pushed for wanting to do something because they felt that out of all the time it was the best time to do it,” remarked Thomas. “Especially with a lot of our students struggling with not having food so at the high school we still make lunches to give out to students and they still pick them up. It was really nice that they wanted to do this.”
Thomas added that there are quite a few foster kids at RHS and to bring joy to them the FFA will be having a toy drive in December and all items collected will stay in Riverbank for foster students.
“This year as our FFA members collaborated and worked together we threw an amazing canned food drive,” stated Myte Romero, FFA Secretary. “We came across many cans from our students and staff. We are beyond grateful that through all that is happening that people in need will be able to get fed. We made sure it was done safely and most effectively. Everyone deserves to feel a little better these holidays after a rough year so we hope we can put smiles on people’s faces.”