Thomas Jefferson

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A Helping Hand For The Holidays

Posted 12/12/2022 by Makayla Vasquez

Sadie Perkins and Campbell Mahoney collaborate to organize the food drive. photo by Nakaia Berkeley

The holidays come with their own obstacles – food should not be one of them. 

With the holidays approaching, the need for food significantly increases for many members of the TJ community. In the past, food drives have been successful in providing enough food for one or two meals over the holidays for families in need. However, for many, that is simply not enough. Hoping to give families meals that last for multiple days during winter break instead of just a single holiday meal, juniors Sadie Perkins and Campbell Mahoney are organizing their own food drive.

Starting in her garage during COVID, Perkins’ mother organized a food bank due to the fact that students who rely on school meals could not access this resource with education being entirely online. For many, the school’s free and reduced lunch is the only meal some students get every day. The food bank was able to help families endure the exceedingly tough times brought on by the pandemic. Perkins said that her mom’s inspiration for starting the food bank was “seeing on the news how many people are not being fed because they aren’t receiving their free and reduced lunch at school.” Perkins, too, was inspired by that fact; week-long breaks prevent these students from being able to have a meal that they would normally receive while being in school. Food is crucial to thriving and Perkins feels as though everyone should be able to have access to such a resource. “Our main goal is to collect as much food as possible and feed the families here at TJ to make sure everyone has food,” said Perkins. “If you’re not well fed, you can’t get a good education and that’s what we’re here for.” 

Last year, the food bank was able to help at least 35 TJ families. The holidays can already be a stressful time for families and a food drive is a great way to help eliminate the concern for food insecurity and instead allow for their focus to be shifted towards spending time together. Items requested for the food drive are non-perishable, including canned soups, fruits and vegetables, tuna, pasta and pasta sauce, as well as jars of peanut butter and jelly, boxes of cereal, and granola bars. The drop-off locations are in the TJ main office or at 3004 S Milwaukee Circle. The deadline for donations is December 9th. 

TJ’s food bank has received a grant for $8,000 from Newmont Mining, allowing for the TJ team to be able to help even more families throughout the year. There is also a non-profit that has supported TJ’s food bank called Colorado Miners, created by Randy Perkins (unrelated to Sadie). The organization was founded to fill the void in young youths’ development and open up opportunities to younger people. With the partnership of Newmont Mining and Colorado Miners, the TJ food bank has flourished into the success it is today. Acts of service like these can be rewarding for everyone involved. In giving to the TJ food drive, one can rest assured that they will be contributing to further food security during the holiday season and giving back to a community in need.