Students Start Sweater Drive


Out of the kindness of their hearts, these five seniors collected sweaters to donate to the homeless.

Have you ever been cold, but then warm and cuddled by a sweater? There are some people who aren’t fortunate enough to buy a sweater. Since the chillier weather is coming up, seniors Raquel Bernal, Virginia Garnica, Jorge Rodriguez, Esmeralda Ochoa, and Alicia Ramirez decided to begin a sweater drive here at school, which will continue until winter break arrives. Ochoa said, “We were inspired by the food drive that Sunil Patel and the freshman seminar class of House E holds each year.”

The students have been planning to do this for a while, but the leaders hit a couple of bumps on the road. They had no idea where to start off, but this wouldn’t impede their efforts to make a change in their community. The students reached out to Red Cross, but the hospital didn’t want to distribute the sweaters that would be donated. Instead, the Red Cross wanted money to buy brand new sweaters. Next, the students went to Goodwill, but they said the sweaters would be sold at their store instead of handed out. The seniors received help from Patel who has a big interest in this drive and he wants to push for all freshmen houses to adopt this service as charity for the community through the rest of the year.

Through the rest of the semester until December 15, freshmen in House E will be helping out the seniors with their drive. House E has instilled in the hearts of all its students to give back to the community and lead as an example for the rest of their peers. Patel says, “I am very proud of them because because having been a part of House E, and even three years later as seniors, they are continuing to strive in helping the community.”

The team received help from Mr. Garcia, Mr.Patel, Mr. Mendez, and Ms. Bernasconi to get barrels in order to collect the donated sweaters. Mr. Garcia says, “I think this is an excellent idea for people who could be cold and a way to show generosity coming from our students. Mr.Patel was gracious enough to get barrels for the sweaters and I think this could become a tradition that we could continue.” These barrels will be at the office for anyone with a kind heart that decides to donate to the needy. The sweaters or coats are supposed to be gently used or new for either gender and of any age. Since it is the first year that this drive is being held, the students have no set goal, but only to collect as many sweaters as possible.

The purpose of this event is to benefit everyone in the community. Garnica says, “Mr.Mendez talked to us about how everyone wants change in our community, but no one does anything about it. I really hope that the people that receive these sweaters are happy, since they don’t receive much and  they see it as a holiday or Christmas present.” The group of students were also inspired by Bernasconi’s teddy bear drive and her partnership with the hospital and Bernasconi said, “I’m proud to see students being proactive to help others. What a wonderful idea that such a simple gift could help ensure that everyone can stay warm this winter in Monterey County.”

The whole idea came about from Bernal she said, “I saw the homeless at Kmart and I started thinking about the cold weather and what they would do about it. I already think it’s cold imagine them?” The main reason behind their idea was that these students are active in community service, but they were looking for a way to make a change that came directly from students. The seniors were looking for something unique to do. Their vision is a nice way to give back to their community. Another reason, is that these leaders really like helping people, although they have busy schedules filled with work and sports, apart from school.

As a way to serve the community the students didn’t even ask for hours back from this service or countless others. Out of the kindness of their hearts they chose to do this service which shows their unselfishness especially in this holiday season where most people except to receive instead of give to others. Ochoa also said, “I hope they are grateful, I want to make people feel good and it is heartwarming to see the looks on their faces.”

The biggest goal the team has is to help as many homeless and protect them from the cold and to make the community more aware of sweaters that are needed, but most people throw away. The whole service has a deeper meaning than helping the community. The importance of the message is that it isn’t about receiving, but giving.