Off Campus

[WEB EXCLUSIVE] Have-a-Heart Food Drive unites school, supports local pantry

By Amber Wolf

The Community Service Club conducted its 11th annual “Have-a-Heart” Food Drive to benefit the Preventive Food Pantry at Boston Medical Center from February 5 to 25. This pantry focuses on supplying low-income families in the Boston area with healthy foods to prevent hunger and malnutrition. Currently, the pantry provides food and counseling to over 7,500 patients and families each month.

“It’s a great way to help families that can’t afford nutritious food items every day,” said Community Service Club Co-President Sara Allan ’14.

According to Faculty Advisor Gabriela Gonzenbach, hunger in Boston is a greater issue than it is perceived to be. “The main point of this food drive is to feed people in our neighborhood. People think that because we live in Boston, there is no hunger, but really, there is.”

This particular food drive is unique because it involves the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools. “It unites all the campuses to get the feeling of BB&N as a whole school community,” Sara said. “It’s wonderful to see all the different campuses’ effort all in one room.”

According to Sara, due to the correlation between obesity and poor food choices in lower-income families, the drive aims to help provide nutrition to those who may not otherwise have access to it. “We want to raise a new generation of healthy kids in Boston who can grow up and become good contributors to society. Any time we are giving back to the community, it is a wonderful thing,” she said.

According to Prof. Gonzenbach, from beginners to the seniors, everyone has helped “supplement healthy foods,” but the extra contributions from the Parents Association have also increased the total food count. “The food drive is very effective every year, and with the help of the Parents Association, it has become even more successful,” she said.

The freshmen seem to participate more than other grades each year, according to Sara. “Generally, the freshmen do really great. [They] are really on top of things,” she said.

Last year, the Upper School donated over 600 food items. This year the Upper School collected 520 items, and the entire school reached a total of 1,296.

According to Sara, the Community Service Club is very satisfied with these results. “We are very proud of the BB&N community’s hard work and selflessness, and we are very grateful to be a part of these efforts.”

Sasa Comargo Cortes ’16 believes that the food drive has made a tangible difference for the pantry. “I feel that the food drive is important because it allows little actions from each individual, such as buying an extra box of cereal, to accumulate into something big,” she said. “Even though it does not greatly affect us personally, the food drive leads to amazing results.”

According to Prof. Gonzenbach, the community effort is one of the best parts of the drive. “When we are working to categorize all the food in the woodworking studio, it is nice to see the collaboration of everyone without any interest of gaining community service hours,” she said. “Everyone just comes because they want to help.”

According to Sara, the Have-A-Heart Food Drive is a great opportunity for students and the school as a whole. “It allows us to show that we like to help and give back. It also makes the students feel good about themselves to know they made a difference in someone else’s life.”

Photo: BB&N’s three campuses combined to collect 1,296 items for the Boston Medical Center Preventive Food Pantry. Courtesy

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