Every year, at the beginning of November, Lamar puts together a Thanksgiving canned food drive in order to benefit Mission Arlington with their Turkey Day donations.
The drive, organized by math teacher Richard Ho, has become a new tradition in the past four years, but it was primarily started as a way for groups to collaborate and earn volunteer hours. Students in Key Club or the National Honor Society, for instance, can earn service hours for helping others. As of this year, the main contributors include AVID, League of United Latin American Citizens and the Black Student Union.
“The biggest drawback is people who typically wait until the very last day to bring lots of things. It makes my heart super happy, but then my logistical brain planning is like, ‘I wish this would’ve come earlier so I could’ve known,’” Ho said.
In an attempt to get more students interested about the canned food drive, Ho has put together a competition between his classes. Extra credit points will be offered to the students who bring non-perishable Thanksgiving food. This can include canned vegetables, sweet potatoes, fruit, pie filling, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, macaroni, stuffing, beans and rice. and other pantry staples such as peanut butter and tuna fish. Toiletries, feminine hygiene products, evaporated milk and infant items are accepted as well. Powdered milk is in high demand.
Cans can be dropped off in 1011, but may also be taken to any AVID classroom and to those who are involved in the Black Student Union. The canned food drive directly benefits Mission Arlington, a nonprofit group in Arlington that relies on the people to acquire and donate necessary items for those who cannot afford them.
“It’s individuals working together to accomplish something bigger than what an individual can accomplish alone,” Ho said. “It’s also a proud thing to be able to… bring this huge truck load to Mission Arlington saying, ’This is from Lamar High School.’”