On Saturday, December 11th, bags and boxes covered the grounds of Ecumenical Hunger in East Palo Alto for as far as the eye could see. The 2021 M-A Canned Food Drive certainly didn’t disappoint. Assisted by the hardworking leadership class, the M-A community managed to surpass the 300,000-pound goal of canned and packaged goods, ending with a final count of over 361,000 pounds. We were able to provide for roughly 400 families this holiday season. 

According to M-A today, students “have contributed over 300,500 pounds of food for our community. That’s a new record, unprecedented! We should all be proud to be a bear right now.”

Study Skills teacher Andrew Stuart, who was featured on the broadcast added, “I love the canned food drive! It’s the largest in the nation, but more importantly, our students are the best and have the biggest hearts. It crosses all grades, all demographics, and everybody pitches in, making our school the best in the country.” 

Kickstarting the process, bags were filled with a variety of canned, packaged, and fresh foods and hygiene products meant to provide for any household. There were plenty of hard working students and staff, greeting each other with smiling faces at the various stations.

Sophomore Zahara Agarwal, who sorted through produce boxes finding extra celery to add, said it “feels so good to be helping people get to their food.” 

Senior Lila Motamedi said it was “super great to see the school come together while doing something good.” Surrounding her were the other “runners,” people delivering the packages, sporting neon “D-Day” shirts, visibly showcasing their school pride. 

Behind them in the line of anticipating carts was Junior Maddie Molise, who said that “the impact the M-A community has is insane. It’s been so amazing to watch it all happen.” 

Molise’s running teammate Bridget McHugo added that, at the end of each run, “seeing the family’s faces light up is just really special.”

Sophomore Shea Dekshenieks helped with the heavy-lifting portion, transferring boxes from cart to cart to the runners. She said, “This is such a wonderful opportunity, and overall it makes me proud to be an M-A student.” 

On November 13, with 163,000 pounds of food raised, Leadership was still questioning whether they would make the goal. However, by December 6, their goal was reached, and by December 11, it was surpassed by over 60,000 pounds. M-A community members hit it out of the ballpark this year. Looks like another Distribution Day for the books, Bears!

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