Tyler Birn, Isaiah Sestito, Gianna Rossano, Conner Kelly and Houston Migdon
Little Silver: The students and staff of Red Bank Regional (RBR) went off to their spring break knowing they contributed to making the spring holidays a little brighter for many families in their community. In an unprecedented “school-wide” drive spearheaded by RBR English teacher Cassandra Dorn and her National Honor Society students (engaging a friendly competition among classes, clubs and the community) over 11,500 food items were collected over a four-month period of time to benefit the Salvation Army in Red Bank.
Dorn comments, “When we dropped off and unloaded the 5 carloads of food -- and that's just from one week of donations -- the Salvation Army captain marveled that our donations totaled more than what they collected at Thanksgiving. Every can, every jar, every box will do so much good. It's said that we should think globally and act locally, and the RBR community showed, overwhelmingly, how much we can accomplish on a local level.”
For years, the RBR community has conducted food drives, but through individual school organizations and for shorter periods of time. Ms. Dorn thought to combine everyone’s efforts with a Battle of the Class kick-off and posted a running total of each classes’ contributions on giant posters in the commons’ area. As an added incentive, a $1,000 prize was offered to the class that brought in the largest total. Parents and community members were also invited to donate food for the drive to support their favorite class. The totals were updated every few days and the lead changed several times. By the contest end on April 3, the senior Class of 2012 emerged as the victors, narrowly edging out the freshmen with a last-minute surge and collecting over 3,800 items. The seniors boosted their total through a “brown bag” drive in Little Silver. Students placed bags – accompanied by letters explaining the food drive – in mailboxes around the town and collected donations a few days later. “I really appreciated that the kids used their weekend time and their own cars and gas to get the job done,” said Dorn. “The NHS kids initiated it completely on their own.”
Although the freshman Class of 2015 came up just a bit short, collecting over 3,500 items, their effort was so impressive that they will receive a $500 second place prize. Class advisor Kristy Finck commented, “Although we didn’t win, [our class] had so much fun competing. My kids are excited that we came in second, and I know they are proud of what we accomplished as well.”
Ms. Dorn adds, “The main goal of the drive was not to give away $1000, it's to help feed local families who are struggling to put food on the table. The Red Bank Salvation Army must purchase food from the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties if they do not have enough to provide their clients, so donating there keeps more food in both organizations' pantries and serves a wider range of communities.”