Strike hunger out

Alisal+High+School+students+and+staff++gathered+more+than+16%2C000+pounds+of+food+to+donate+to+this+year%27s+food+drive.+-+Left+corner+Ernesto+Garcia+and+Cathy+Montero%2C+Right+Bryan+Vargas%2C+Sandra+Ocampo%2C+Phillip+Tabera+%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A
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Strike hunger out

Alisal High School students and staff  gathered more than 16,000 pounds of food to donate to this year's food drive. - Left corner Ernesto Garcia and Cathy Montero, Right Bryan Vargas, Sandra Ocampo, Phillip Tabera

Alisal High School students and staff gathered more than 16,000 pounds of food to donate to this year's food drive. - Left corner Ernesto Garcia and Cathy Montero, Right Bryan Vargas, Sandra Ocampo, Phillip Tabera

Alisal High School students and staff gathered more than 16,000 pounds of food to donate to this year's food drive. - Left corner Ernesto Garcia and Cathy Montero, Right Bryan Vargas, Sandra Ocampo, Phillip Tabera

Alisal High School students and staff gathered more than 16,000 pounds of food to donate to this year's food drive. - Left corner Ernesto Garcia and Cathy Montero, Right Bryan Vargas, Sandra Ocampo, Phillip Tabera

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The annual Alisal Food Drive is dedicated to helping families all over the county who struggle to bring food to their table. Alisal High School is example of all the people and organizations who help and contribute in this food drive.

In 2005, when freshman seminar teacher Sunil Patel first started the food drive, the goal was five thousand pounds of food. Since then, they have been increasing it by adding one thousand pounds every other year. This food drive is not just important to the community, but the students in Alisal as well.  Freshman Alejandro Martinez said, “I feel that I should help my community and this food drive because it will change our community, and I want to help out those in need because it makes me proud to help people.”

Patel feels the same, “My motive is just giving back. I think that part of being a good human is by learning to love and care for your fellow and mankind.” He quickly added, ”We have challenges and charity begins at home, we want to change the world and Salinas is our home and our community, we are responsible to take care of everyone especially the more vulnerable.”

As a community, Salinas has plenty of poverty and lack of food in these streets, which is why Patel and Alisal students see the need of  help people need from us. Patel said, “1 out of 5 Monterey County kids live in poverty and a lot don’t have adequate meals and it’s up to us and McDonald’s  to do the right thing and teach our young and especially high school students to give back.”

Last year’s goal for the food drive was to collect fifteen thousand pounds between cash and food. This goal was accomplished by students and staff contributing and putting food in the barrels and donating money for this purpose. Freshman Bryan Gomez said, “I feel this year’s food drive was important to me because I like helping people, and this year I donated money for this food drive. I would donate again next year as well.”

By collecting 16 thousand pounds of food, Alisal students are providing with more than 12,800 meals to the community. In an interview by The Californian, the Associated Student Body co-president  Bryan Vargas, said, “It’s important because it shows that even though all of our students have their own struggle, it’s something we’re doing to bring the community together.”

On Friday November 18, there was a lunch rally to recognize all the hard work that went into filling these barrels. Patel said, “I’m very proud about the fact that this school has raised more food over the last 10 years than any other school in the Monterey County.”

The generosity did not unnoticed as Cathy Montero, programs manager of  the Monterey Food bank said, “This school has by far passed any other school in all the county in the collections. I think that is just a gift of giving that Patel has taught some students. I would definitely come back. I’ve been in the Food Bank since 2011 and I have come here every year since then.”

The students also received praise locally from Salinas Union High School District Board of Trustees member Sandra Ocampo, who said she was so proud of the students.  “I would come back to Alisal and participate in this food drive again,” she said.  

Although the food drive is lead mostly by freshmen, the entire student body participates in this week-long food drive.  School board member Phillip Tabera said, “This food drive is excellent and it shows that kids are capable of organizing themselves to do something excellent, and you guys have demonstrated you could raise money and raise food and I would come again.”

With the holiday season approaching the food drive is able to help those less fortunate so that everyone can enjoy this time of year.

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