Students collect cans, money for food drive

Senior Anna Love pumped up her third hour class by inviting them to stand outside Hy-Vee with her to collect cans and money for the high school food drive. Throughout the three times they have volunteered their time, they have collected about $370 and over 300 cans of food.

Love learned of this idea from students from previous years. During the volunteer work, she met people who have made a lasting impact on her. “There was a man who said ‘I’ve been hungry before, so I know what it’s like,’ as he donated. That impacted me because the people I was helping by being there were originally faceless. I would never see them and most likely never see any change because of what I was doing, but by him saying that, it opened my eyes to the fact that I come in contact with people who are struggling to put food on the table every day, I just don’t know it,” Love said.

There was another person Love met while volunteering that made her think about what people spend their money on. “There was another woman who said as she donated ‘I always feel bad walking by something like this and then buying a lottery ticket.’ People spend so much on things that don’t matter when they could be using that money for good. [But they spend it on] excess clothes, the latest iPhone, video games, drugs/alcohol and cosmetics. I’m just as guilty as the next person,” Love said.

Love went to Haiti last year with her church and saw hunger up close. “There were kids with skinny arms and big stomachs. In extreme cases I saw kids whose hair had turned from the normal black to a rusty-red because their bodies didn’t have the support to pigment their hair. At the nutrition centers that my group did, we gave them peanut butter sandwiches. Most of the kids would only eat half and then stick the rest in their back pocket. They never knew when they would get food again. Seeing all of this in Haiti makes me want to help people [here] with the same problem,” Love said. “The rich should help the poor, the strong should help the weak. If you can’t donate money, donate time. If you can’t donate time, then donate money. Hunger is such an overlooked problem in our community. Every human life is equal in God’s eyes, so don’t overlook 1/8th of the Iowan population.”

Love’s classmates from college physics have so far kept a consistent set-up every time they stand outside Hy-Vee to collect donations. After checking to make sure the time of day isn’t already reserved, the students gather at the front of the store. They get a shopping cart and attach a sign Love made that reads “Fight Hunger, support CFHS food drive.” They also drape a Tiger jersey over the side of the cart with the handle bar. They have handed out flyers explaining the cause and including a few statistics about hunger in Iowa.

Senior Sophie Perez was one student who joined Love in her efforts. “I wanted to [help] because it was a good way for the community to get involved in giving, and it was good to get cans for our third hour (since I’m competitive by nature and really want to win),” Perez said.

The girls’ set-up also included a balloon pump and balloons. Love has been making balloon animals since the fifth grade when she taught herself and has since been hired at countless birthday parties and community events. “It definitely helped having animal balloons as a kid’s attraction. It brought the kids over to us, and even if their parents hadn’t bought cans or thought about donating money, this way they felt a sort of obligation to give in return for Anna’s services,” Perez said.

Perez had a good experience volunteering. “Definitely want to do it again. Not only am I helping the community, but the feeling of service I got from collecting [cans and money] was amazing, especially knowing that I’m helping feed people right where I live,” Perez said.

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