Latin Club donates more than 2,500-pounds of food to Food Bank of South Jersey

The food drive also raised more than $500 in monetary contributions for the cause

The Clearview Regional High School Latin Club exceeded the goal of collecting one ton of goods for families in need through the annual Pack the Bus Food Drive on Thursday, Nov. 16, when students delivered more than 2,500 pounds of food, and a check for more than $500 to the Students Change Hunger program through the Food Bank of South Jersey.

According to advisor and world language teacher Martha Pearlman, alongside the food and goods donated to families in need, every dollar raised is also equivalent to one pound of food.

“We are letting people in our school know there are people in need across South Jersey and even in our school,” Pearlman said. “We want to educate students on the fact they may be sitting next to someone who is hungry.”

On Thursday, Nov. 16, members of the Latin Club loaded the ton of food donations onto a school bus and hand delivered the goods to the Food Bank of South Jersey. Once there, the donations were weighed and students were given a tour of the facility to see how their contributions make an impact in the region.

Through the Students Change Hunger program, organized by the Federation of New Jersey Food Banks, schools throughout the state compete with each other to collect as much food donations as possible from Sept. 18 through Dec. 11. At the end of the challenge, the school that donates the most food is honored with an award by their local food bank.

According to the Students Change Hunger website, www.studentschangehunger.org, 2016 was a record year with 229 participating schools, collecting more than 230,000 pounds of food and more than $30,000.

Last year, Clearview placed third in the statewide competition, according to junior Latin Club Student Ambassador Hannah Specht. By attending the award ceremony, Specht said, she was able to learn from other schools of fundraising ideas and techniques to collect more food donations and monetary contributions this year. For example, this year the club sold T-shirts, bracelets and held a Jeans Day for faculty and staff for a donation. To collect food, students passed out flyers to local neighborhoods, as well as advertised the cause throughout the school and on View News, the school’s television channel and morning announcements.

“We try to do the food drive at the beginning of the year because we know just how big Thanksgiving is, and how hurtful it can be for families who are in this area who don’t have the supplies they need,” Specht said. “We try to help people feel as though they have places they can go to get their next meal.”

According to Pearlman, each year the Latin Club participates in the National Junior Classical League, where Clearview has been awarded at the annual national convention for community service. Last year, the Latin Club won first place for community service for the first time in program history with more than 700 community service hours compiled by the club’s 140 members.

Kids today want to be a part of something,” Pearlman said. “It’s a small number of families who need help, but at any point any student can go in and ask for help.”

Clearview Regional High School has its own anonymous food pantry for students, offering snacks and food throughout the day, as well as backpacks of food children can take home over a weekend.

“Just seeing how many people in our community need the help, it’s not always apparent, especially in an area such as Mullica Hill, but they do so it’s nice to have these food drives to help,” Specht said.