Where do all those cans go?

Martha-Kelly Bone, Staff writer

According to the Salvation Army’s website, each night in the United States of America over 10 million families go to bed hungry. A further 6.9 million don’t know when their next meal is coming. Not only is hunger a problem in the world, but hunger is a problem in this community. Every year Student Council hosts a can food drive in which can foods and money are donated by the students.  The school gives the donations to the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, and the Brighton Center. But where do all those donations go?

The Salvation Army was founded in 1865 as a safe place for people to go and get their needs met without the thought of being discriminated against. The Salvation Army finds a way to help in every situation, from assisting the unemployed to overcoming poverty. One way the Salvation Army helps fight hunger is by establishing food pantries. Food Pantries are necessary in communities where there is limited access to grocery stores. Students and staff at the school can help in this need. Captain Selah Bender, Corp Officer at the Salvation Army, said, “The community can help by joining us in our mission. They can send monetary donations, toys’ and canned food donations. They can also volunteer to stand at kettles and ring the bell for us during the month of December.” The canned foods that are collected and donated through November, are actually distributed at Christmas. Over 300 families receive a food bag and a toy at the Christmas Toy Shop. Any canned foods that are donated the rest of the year go to food pantries for those who cannot provide food for various reasons throughout the year.

St. Vincent de Paul has holiday drives that help families enjoy and celebrate their traditions. Their main mission is to provide hope for those who need it.  Amy Smith, transport manager at St. Vincent de Paul, said, “The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Northern KY is a network of friends, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need. The most important part of our mission is to provide hope to those in need.”  This non-profit organization serves the need of the less fortunate regardless of their religious choices or any other cultural qualities. All around Northern Kentucky, students may see blue donation bins representing St. Vincent de Paul. Placing gently used clothing or houseware helps a large amount of people in Northern Kentucky. Once all food donations are picked up or dropped off to St. Vincent de Paul, the canned foods are sorted by the sell by date and their food group. There are a few ways to get the donated food. People can go to the food pantry that is open from Tuesdays thru Thursday or if they are not able to go out, they are matched with a volunteer who will bring them their food. When students bring in can foods, they help provide meals to neighbors in need.

During Thanksgiving students celebrate with feasts and family.  The Brighton Center helps other families celebrate the same way. Friends Giving is a fundraiser that the Brighton center hosts. At the fundraiser there are many activity’s for families, such as silent auctions, live music and more. The proceeds from the fundraiser go to one of the Brighton Center’s program. Donations of small foods create a big impact on these families. “Everything that is donated helps a family in need.” said Beth Hodge, Brighton Center Manager.  The Brighton Center supports families that are getting back on their feet. Over the past ten years, more than 20,000 individuals were able to reduce their need on food pantries. All these ways of helping and giving are changing communities for the better.

The school collects food and monetary donations to give to the Salvation Army, Brighton Center, and St. Vincent de Paul. Not only does donating nonperishable food help the community but it is easy to do. Mr. Ryan Augustin, eighth grade teacher, said, “There are so many people in our community needing help during the holiday season. It our responsibility to do something to help.”  The goal for this school year is to collect 22,000 cans. To motivate students the top ten people in each grade get to bowl in the Turkey Bowl and the first lead class that gets to 700 cans gets specialty pizza for lunch. These charities are providing a safe space for people to go and have a warm meal, as well as getting students, teachers, and staff to give back to their community.