By Monica Simpson
Special to the Light
La Jolla Elementary School families donated a whopping 1,951 pounds of food to the Hand Up Youth food pantry, as part of the school's December service learning project.
Hand Up Youth Food Pantry runs 13 locations across San Diego County. Run by socially minded teenagers, it provides much needed help to the elderly, homeless families and the military.
Each LJES class was given a collection box and asked to bring in food items. To motivate the children a contest was established to see who collected the most food.
Shelly Hayne, supervisor of Hand Up Food Pantry, was amazed by the volume and weight of the donations.
“We would like to thank you for your generous food donation of 1,951 pounds of canned and boxed food," she said in a letter to the school. "This is the biggest school food drive and the third largest out of all food drives this year. These items will be used to stock our food pantry at the Turk Family Center. The food your school donated will help feed 279 people a total of 1,524 meals.”
To cap off the event, the student council volunteered at the pantry to stock shelves and assemble food bags.
Principal Donna Tripi read Hayne’s letter to the entire school at the Dec. 17 assembly. She congratulated all the children for stepping up to help those in need. Next year, La Jolla Elementary hopes to surpass 2,000 pounds.
La Jolla Elementary's service-learning program involves students in monthly activities that help less advantaged people. The program is sponsored by the LJES Parent Teacher Organization and run by parent Cynthia Kronemyer.
In October, LJES children brought in books for Words Alive, a nonprofit organization that promotes reading and literacy to low-income at-risk children who may never get exposed to books without intervention. In November, students collected handmade cards and toiletries and delivered them to ill veterans at the VA Hospital.