This year marks the 22nd annual Menlo-Atherton Canned Food Drive, a tradition started by Coach Ben Parks. Since then, M-A’s award winning Canned Food Drive has grown to be the largest food drive operated through a public high school. This year, however, because of the pandemic, students will not be able to engage in the tradition of canning. Despite this setback, Leadership is still aiming to collect over 300,000 pounds of canned food for the second year in a row. The Canned Food Drive began November 2nd and will continue through December 11th.
Instead of canning, this year’s food drive will set up bins where students and community members can drop off cans. As of now, there are only bins set up outside of M-A. Soon there will also be bins set up in front of a variety of supermarkets so that they can easily be accessed by all M-A students.
Bins will be available outside of these grocery stores:
- Bianchini’s (Ladera)
- Delucchi’s Market (Redwood City)
- Draeger’s (Menlo Park)
- Cardenas (East Palo Alto)
- Roberts Market (Portola Valley)
- Safeway (El Camino, Menlo Park)
- Safeway (Sharon Heights, Menlo Park)
- Trader Joe’s (Menlo Park)
- Willows Market (Menlo Park)
- Whole Foods (Palo Alto)
Through Second Harvest Food Bank, donations can be made online, instead of students collecting checks and cash, with the goal is to raise $15,000. M-A’s fundraising page explains the importance of the Canned Food Drive, “M-A students are encouraged to collect food from the community to help feed several hundred families in our area, many of them Menlo-Atherton families. According to the Second Harvest Food Bank website, one in four people in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties are at risk for hunger. Many are children, and some are our neighbors, classmates, or acquaintances.”
When students drop off cans at school, they can scan a QR code on the bin that leads to a google form. On the form they can designate which class or club they wish to credit their cans to. Leadership will also be counting online donations towards class and club goals. Junior Devin Leslie, who is the ASB Vice President, said, “Tracking will likely be a little slower and less frequent than usual, but I’m super proud of what our counting committee is working on and I think they will do a great job.”
Even though students will not be canning, there are other ways for students to be involved in the Canned Food Drive. “This year [the student body] can help with our [Community Canning] plan by signing up to distribute bags in a neighborhood which people can then fill with cans and return to the students, said sophomore Amelia Kratzer. The Community Canning plan was originally called the Laura Plan at the start of the Canned Food Drive.
On December 12th there will be a distribution day on campus, and it is still being decided if students and clubs will be allowed to participate. Leadership will also be delivering food and cans directly to houses.