Student Hunger Drive 2021: How small acts make big impacts on the community

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Allisa Pandit

Members of the Spartan Assembly help organize the Student Hunger Drive.

Josie Olderog, Feature Editor

As students prepare to bring pounds of cans and boxed food to school, many questions arise on where this food goes —or more specifically, how it affects the community. The outcomes of the Student Hunger Drive (SHD) may be deeper than they appear to most, despite the light-hearted challenges and games presented by teachers to incentivize students to bring food.

This year marks the 35th annual year that the River Bend Food Bank has hosted the SHD for 16 participating local schools, including PV. 

Because the challenges of 2020 created a hiatus for the SHD, the River Bend Food Bank is in need of food donations. “The number of people who need food is still higher now than it was before the pandemic,” stated the President and CEO of the River Bend Food Bank, Mike Miller. 

Miller also stated that once COVID-19 hit, the need for supplies jumped 50 percent. This exceptional need is why donating and educating students on the issue this year is more important than ever.

The SHD as a whole is an effective way to include and educate students in the fight against hunger. Many teachers give lectures at this time about the importance of giving back to those in need, while others create games for the class in order to show the necessity of donating when possible. 

Miller loves this aspect of the Student Hunger Drive. “The student  [is] unique to our community,” Miller said. ‘We have an entire generation who understands the hunger issue because of their experience in high school, and who are now passing that on to their children.”

Those that have participated in the organization and promotion of the SHD have been even more a part of this unique community experience. Senior executive member of Spartan Assembly Allisa Pandit has been a part of  the Hunger Drive at PV since she was a freshman. She attests that after watching the SHD of 2020 get canceled, the serious need for supplies for the community became even more important to her.

Pandit and the Spartan Assembly were still able to come upon supplies to donate in 2020. “With the drive canceled, we came up with a food and hygiene drive to help families in need.” she stated.

It is imperative to teach students the importance of the SHD, especially in a privileged community such as PV. And so as the drive rolls around each year, the games may seem repetitive to some, but once students truly learn the deep and dire need for these donations, no incentive should be needed. 

Pandit is passionate about this necessity to learn and understand. “While [the] Spartan Assembly does push the competitive aspect of SHD, I think it is important for students to remember the true effect their donations have on our community.” she stated. “Although it may be difficult for some to understand the severity of hunger in our community, it is crucial that members of the community help out when they can.”