Canned food drive returns to GlenOak High School

By Victoria Serena, Staff Writer — Last year, over 26,000 canned food items were collected by the annual 9th grade food drive―and this year, they are back at it again.

Every year, English teacher Susan Barry organizes a food drive. It has been going on for four years now.

It was originally created by principal Mike Babics, and then management was passed over to Barry.

“He asked if I could help and I said yes,” Barry said, “I kind of just jumped in.”

Alongside Barry are ninth grade students who volunteer their time to organize and collect the food. Together, their goal is to collect as much food as possible, and help as many people as possible.

“The more food, the more families we can help,” freshman Alaina Provo said.“And one can of food can go a long way.”

While the purpose is to collect food to help people in need, Barry also wants students to empathize and understand how these people are living.

“I want students to know that the people sitting next to them could be hungry,” Barry said. “Try to understand how they would feel if they didn’t have enough food in their homes.”

This year, there was a change made to the food drive. In previous years, the food drive was solely kept in the Freshman Academy. The freshman classes would compete to see who could collect the most food and the winning classroom would get a pizza party, compliments of academy principal Matt Gagnon.

The freshman classes are still having their competition. That is not what changed. The change occurred in the participants. This year’s collections have been presented to all grade levels, in the shape of shopping carts.

While walking around school, Giant Eagle carts are seen in every wing. These carts are used for collecting donations.

The use of the Giant Eagle carts for collection started with Babics. After Barry took charge of the drive, she continued to use the carts.

“I call Giant Eagle every year and talk to the manager, then ask Mr. Mayle to pick them up,” Barry said.

But those carts will not be here much longer. School wide, the food drive ends on Nov. 18. There will still be collections going on Nov. 18 and 19 during the school’s ballets. So come support the community as well as the GlenOak ballet.

When the collections for the food drive end on Nov. 19, all the food will be loaded up into cars and driven to to Little Flower Church. From there, it will be distributed to local food pantries.

“Sometimes you do the right thing even though you might not be benefited by it,” Barry said “it should make you feel good inside and that’s why we do things like this. I would be thrilled if we could beat what we got last year.”

[Updated Aug. 20, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]