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Canned Food Drive Provides Leadership Opportunities While Helping the Community

The canned food drive culiminates in a school wise assembly each year where a display of donated items is constructed by students.
Photo provided by Amanda Sunda
The canned food drive culiminates in a school wise assembly each year where a display of donated items is constructed by students.

As the holiday season comes around, individuals who experience food insecurity are faced with increased levels of stress. While the Amen House collects food donations for these individuals year-round, many donations received during the holiday season are collected by students and staff throughout Scott County Schools for the annual Amen House Canned Food Drive which occurs throughout November. This drive and its collection of food items lessens the anxiety which affects those in need during the holidays.  

This drive run by students and staff facilitate greater leadership skills, in addition to benefiting those in need. These donations made by students and staff usually keep the Amen House supplied for up to 6 months. Emilee Wiler, agriculture teacher and advisor for Great Crossing High School’s FFA elaborated, “Last year, 29,000 nonperishable items were collected by GCHS.” 

Great Crossing High School social studies teacher Amanda Sunda has been both the organizer and cheerleader for the Amen House Canned Food Drive.Sunda has been participating in/leading the canned food drive for the past 12 years. During the duration of the drive, Sunda does many things to raise money and collect donations. 

Sunda elaborated, “My main role in the canned food drive is to encourage my students to take informed action. I take steps to inform students of food insecurity in our community and play the role of cheerleader in order to encourage them to do something about it! As an active teacher participant in the drive, I have encouraged students to clean out their pantries and to set up donation boxes throughout the community.” 

Through her encouragement, many smaller drives have been started by high school students at elementary and middle schools throughout Georgetown, including RSMS, GMS, Garth, Lemons Mill, Eastern, Northern, and many more. Though they receive assistance at the start from Sunda, students run these drives on their own, allowing them to learn important leadership skills necessary for their lives later on.

In addition to her involvement throughout the drive, Sunda has been impacted as well. Sunda commented, “The Canned Food Drive has impacted me in many ways. When I first started to participate in the drive, I was only in my 4th year of teaching. This drive helped me to grow in my leadership skills. In addition, it has impacted me by taking social studies beyond the classroom walls and encouraging my students to take informed action to tackle the hunger problem in our community.”

Senior Great Crossing High School student Connor Price has been an avid volunteer in the Amen House Canned Food Drive since his sophomore year when he was a student in Sunda’s AP World History Class. Every year since his participation in Sunda’s AP World History class, Price has brought in hundreds of cans/nonperishable goods and money for those facing food insecurity.  Price added, “I involve myself heavily with the drive because I was very fortunate to grow up in a household where food insecurity was never an issue, but I know that there are so many people who are not that fortunate. I want to do my part to gather resources so that everyone in our community can grow up with opportunities like I had. “

Price remarked, “I have brought on many other student leaders to help organize service and collection days at businesses in town, as well as to help start can drives at many of the other schools in the district. I also trick or treat for cans yearly, as it is a fantastic way to get the rest of the community involved, as well as yielding a major haul itself!” Price added, “Just this year, I was able to collect what felt like nearly 300 pounds of cans in about two hours of trick or treating.”

Price has gained important skills as a leader, has collected vast amounts of donations, and has continuously encouraged others looking to take action as well.  All of this by simply taking action in events such as fundraisers throughout his school. 

Through this year’s canned food drive, over 23,000 canned and non perishable food items were collected for those in need.

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About the Contributor
Piper McGuffey
Piper McGuffey, Staff Reporter
Piper McGuffey is a senior at Great Crossing High school. This will be her first year as a staff reporter for The Crossing Chronicle. This fall, Piper plans to attend Georgetown college pursuing a major in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. With this degree, Piper plans on opening her own pediatric therapy clinic. Piper enjoys reading, making art, trying/making new types of coffee, and meeting new people.

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  • L

    Lynn FiechterDec 6, 2023 at 10:57 am

    The Canned Food Drive has been an important and impressive event at GCHS and before. I know our community appreciates all the students and teachers who participate 🙂

  • A

    Annette ManliefDec 6, 2023 at 7:24 am

    I love seeing positive stories like this!

  • A

    Amanda SundaDec 4, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    Fantastic piece! Thank you for this write up and your work and dedication to the canned food drive for years!