Oswego High School’s food drive finished with another successful year of donations to lend a helping hand to families in need. On Oct. 3-12, OHS and Oswego East students were given the opportunity to contribute material and monetary donations to the Kendall County Food Pantry. For every $1 donated to the food pantry, eight food items were counted to the school. This year’s ninth annual food drive collected 413,137 items district-wide, compared to last year’s 385,141 items. After experiencing a dip in donations in the 2020 pandemic era, the food pantry is back to seeing high numbers in donations from these past two years.
Rising cost of living causes the average person to spend $77.35 per week, amounting to $342.50 per month.
Many OHS students are on a free or reduced lunch plan, but one discounted or free meal a day simply isn’t enough. Because of this, the school district pairs with the food pantry every year to provide daily meals for those in need.
The Kendall County Food Pantry has a section designated for SD308 families in need. It works as a drive-thru service, giving families an easy pick-up option, allowing them to choose from a wide variety of food, all without having to wait in long lines. The drive also takes diapers, feminine products, and other sanitary items.
So, this poses the question: How can students get involved in future food drives or the pantry in general? Students can sign up easily with volunteer opportunities from Student Council and National Honors Society groups. The food drive this year was sponsored by three science teachers: Elizabeth Gustin, Elizabeth Haggerty, and Lauren Landando.
One of the co-sponsors of the event, Lauren Landando, a first-year OHS biology and chemistry teacher, got some of her own students to raise awareness by handing out flyers at this year’s homecoming parade.
She explained it is important for members of Student Council and other school-leading groups because it gives opportunities “to service, and not selfish service…It gives you a little bit of an opportunity to do something selfless.”
Students could volunteer to hand out flyers outside of room 158 and outside each day of the food drive, and check donations after school. The food drive is also part of a competition between Oswego and Oswego East, adding a competitive edge to an overall good deed.
“When I said it was a competition between East, that’s when I got some of my students to be more involved,” Lanando said.
The food drive has proven to have a mass impact on the students of Oswego High School, because the food donated could be going to a classmate and their family. Helping students and their families stay happy and focused is a top priority for OHS staff.
“It can’t be just one or two people that show up and do the work, we need to take care of ourselves and each other as a collective group,” Jacob Cafaro, OHS social worker and one of the organizers of the food drive, said. “Whether it’s a general need like free lunch for students of low income, or if it’s like a temporary need like a student losing a parent or someone loses a job.”
The food drive is also supported by clubs like B.I.O.N.I.C, Student Council, and National Honors Society.
“Even just this year they helped immensely… they did so much fundraising, I think probably because they knew who to ask and they have such a wonderful positive following already,” Elizabeth Gustin said. “Knowing that you’re a part of your community and helping your community, well, it feels good.”
Hello! I'm Fionnuala Quinn. I'm currently a sophomore at OHS and this is my first year of journalism. Apart from journalism, I am involved in Cross Country, Track and Feild, and Best Buddies.