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Annual Canned Food Drive surpasses goal

CAN-DO ATTITUDE: Preparing bidding sheets for the Canned Food Drive Silent Auction on Nov. 18, Carolyn Kuhn, senior class treasurer, assigns a value to an item. The Silent Auction was one of the various events organized by Student Council in order to reach the goal of 100,016 cans.

Photo by Sophie Mason

CAN-DO ATTITUDE: Preparing bidding sheets for the Canned Food Drive Silent Auction on Nov. 18, Carolyn Kuhn, senior class treasurer, assigns a value to an item. The Silent Auction was one of the various events organized by Student Council in order to reach the goal of 100,016 cans.

Katie Cavender and Corinne Shaw

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South’s annual Canned Food Drive raised 129,066 cans from Nov. 1 to Nov. 22. The Northfield Township Food Pantry, Onward House of Chicago and Vital Bridges received the materials.

This year, the drive surpassed the 100,016 can goal by 29,050 cans. Jim Shellard, assistant principal of student activities, attributes much of the success of the event to efforts made by Student Council in fundraising and publicity.

“Student Council organized [the Canned Food Drive] very well,” Shellard said. “They had a series of events that were conducive to bringing [the drive] more attention […] and fundraising [… like] the auction, the basketball game, [the] red cups and Code Red.”

Shellard believes that while organization was a major factor, it was not the only aspect of this year’s success.

“It seemed that we got to the totals that we needed sooner and it didn’t seem as panicked [as past years],” Shellard said. “It felt like people were making contributions where they could. […] There were a couple teachers that stepped up their personal games. […] I think there was a little bit more discussion from teachers with their students.”

English teacher Robert Wysocki encouraged his students to donate and as a result, they gave over 14,000 cans, according to Wysocki. A factor in this participation was a sense of competition between his first block and Dr. Tom Kucharski’s, English instructional upervisor, class next door.

“I was standing in the hall waiting for kids to come in and [Kucharski] said […] ‘My seniors are going to collect more cans than [yours],’” Wysocki said. “As class began, one of my former students […] came into the room and he said […] ‘We’re just letting you know that we’re going to beat you in the canned food drive.’”

While the competition added a fun aspect to donating, Wysocki says he reminded his students of the impact the donations would make on community members’ lives. Wysocki says that his motivation for participating in the Canned Food Drive and encouraging his students was his background working in Chicago Public Schools, where he knew many students that went without food for the entire day.

“I really believe in the Canned Food Drive,” Wysocki said. “There are kids at GBS who are not having three meals a day, and that really makes my heart ache. There shouldn’t be a child here, or anywhere, that goes without a meal.”

Like  Wysocki, Saarah Bhaiji, student body treasurer, believes all the work put into the drive was worth it. She says that seeing the food people in need will receive was extremely moving.

“No matter how heavy those cans [were], everybody worked together [to load buses],” Bhaiji said. “The weight of the boxes don’t matter because [we knew] we were going to feed [many] families [in need]. All the cans in the West cafeteria [made] me want to cry, it [was] overwhelming and beautiful.”

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Annual Canned Food Drive surpasses goal