Holiday food drive collects 8,301 items for needy families

By Brian Park
Executive In-Depth Editor

Shattering the school’s previous record, the holiday food drive organized by Service Club has been a tremendous success by more than doubling the record number of items.
This year, 42 second period classes participated in the food drive. Also contributing to the total number of items was Student Council by collecting 300 items at Haunted High School and the Prospect Marching Knights by collecting over 400 pounds of food at Band-o-Rama.
The food will be donated to the Village of Mount Prospect food pantry and CEDA Northwest, an organization that works in partnership with communities to empower families and individuals. According to Service Learning Coordinator David Jacobson, families apply to receive food and the neediest families are chosen from their applications. The Mount Prospect food pantry will serve 120 families this year at both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“There’s a lot of people out there who are very needy,” Jacobson said. “We don’t have the resources to provide for their families, especially during the holidays. So most of us at Prospect is fairly well off and pretty lucky with what we have, so it’s always nice to give back to the community.”
Some of the most common items donated included boxes of macaroni and cheese and cans of soup, tomato sauce and vegetables.
According to Jacobson, the class with the greatest number of items per student will get a free breakfast consisting of bagels, donuts, milk and juice provided by the cafeteria.
The winning class was Spanish teacher Danielle Ossman’s Honors Spanish 3 class with an outstanding 58.92 items per student; however, they have decided to not take the free breakfast and give it to the second and third place finishers (see standings) because she told the students in her class she would make pancakes for them if they collected 1,000 items.
At first, Ossman’s students did not plan to collect all of their items; they first tried to collect 500 items, then to the previous record at 900, but the class ended up collecting much more.
“We just started talking about it in class, and said, ‘oh, it would be kind of fun to maybe see what the record was [and] see if we could beat it,’” Ossman said. “We said, ‘oh, we could try to get 500’. Then we found out that the highest record ever was 900, and my kids said, ‘oh, we could beat that’. And before we knew it, we had over 1,000, and then when we finally counted it was 1,500. We couldn’t believe it.”
One of the students who contributed is junior Felix Saji in the winning class. By putting signs up on doorways and collecting food donations around his neighborhood, he was able to add 108 items to the class total and by collecting money donations in his class, he was able to buy 120 more.
Saji’s main motivation was to win, in which he was very confident, but he also liked helping out because it was for a good cause. He is also involved in Service Club.
“I feel really good because I volunteer a lot, so I see what people need and what people need help with,” Saji said.
In fact, Ossman’s class did mostly all the work for this food drive: they collected all of the food, organized it, and put in the effort.
“It was nice because they switched from saying, ‘oh, we want to win the breakfast’ to just kind of realizing, ‘okay, we’re helping a lot of people here,’” Ossman said. “I think that it was really [a] positive thing and really kind of shows how great Prospect students are in helping people in need.”
The standings (total- 8,301 items)
1. Danielle Ossman’s Honors Spanish 3 class- 1,532 items (58.92 per student)
2. Brock Collins’ World History class- 1,555 items (57.59 per student)
3. Tim Beishir’s Human Geo class- 1,362 items (56.75 per student)
Honorable mentions (100+)
Dave Schnell’s AP World History class
John Kaminsky’s AP World History class
Sean Murrin’s Diagnostic Test and Repair class
Cindy Pak’s Honors Spanish 3 class
Nick DelBoccio’s Biology class
Mark Welter’s Honors Physics class
Pete Wintermute’s Honors Advanced Algebra class
Jackie Gronski’s Oral Communication class