By Oliver Van Aken
Life Skills students in Mr. Manning’s class are collecting packaged food in the cafeteria during both lunches through the end of May. All donations go to Coronado students that are hungry before school and during lunch that may have forgotten their money or cannot afford food.
“It’s a great idea that the Life Skills students are giving back to the community; I support it,” Luke Schleifer, sophomore, said. “I’d love to help spread the word and give them some of my food.”
Independently of the Life Skills class, junior Shakara Quapaw, was also gathering donations in the cafeteria during breakfast since students returned from winter break. Mr. Manning thought of the idea for his class and started accepting donations at lunch. When he learned that Quapaw was doing the same thing, he offered for them to combine operations.
“Kids who don’t want certain foods just end up throwing them away, and it’s a big waste,” Quapaw said. “I started asking for people to put their donations on a table so that others can pick them up and eat them if they so choose.”
The class has asked for donations since the beginning of the second semester and plans to continue until the end of the school year. Since the event is only run by students in Mr. Manning’s class, they need more helpers. The students want to branch out to other classes to get volunteers in an effort to keep the donation drive alive.
“I think what the kids are doing is a wonderful thing,” Cafeteria Manager, Debby Franco, said. “Whenever someone drops a package of food in the bucket their faces just light up.”
Mr. Manning plans to start weighing how much food they collect, but as of now, he estimates that 100 pounds of food are brought in per week. The food items they receive vary with what the cafeteria is selling that week. For instance, oranges and carrots were the basis of some week’s donations; however, others consisted mostly of pears. Along with fruit and vegetables, they also receive other food items such as salad dressing, juice boxes, water bottles and yogurt.
“My favorite part about the donations is giving the food to people that are hungry,” Life Skills student Keerat Khaira said.
According to Mr. Manning, his students love to interact with their peers, and this drive gives them another opportunity to do so. The students are limited to their class of 13 which leaves opportunities to interact with peers rare.
“I love helping with the donations at lunch,” Life Skills student Daniel Cabanlong, freshman, said. “My favorite part is standing there and talking with other students.”
Mr. Manning’s students plan to continue collecting donations for as long as possible but may have to stop due to lack of volunteers. They are always looking for students that are eager to help and want to give back to the Coronado community.
“I want my students to learn that we can all share and give back to people who have given to us,” Mr. Manning said. “Students are always doing nice things for my kids, so I wanted them to do something nice back.”