Food Drive Nets Ton of Food

KISD students made a huge contribution to food drive
By: Todd Martin
Across the Killeen area and all of Central Texas Friday, children, youth, soldiers and caring people of all description united to help one another.
Food for Families, now 30 years old, is a non-perishable food drive that helps stock the shelves of pantries in a nine-county area, including Nolanville, Harker Heights, Killeen and Fort Hood.
As always, the Killeen Special Events Center served as a hub of collection for this area and drew a wide combination of students, soldiers and others volunteering to unload, stack and sort donated food items.
Food Care Center Director Raymond Cockrell said it does his heart good to see the frenzy of activity to do what needs to be done to make sure food is available for those who need it.
“You look around and you see people from all walks of life standing tall for those who are less fortunate,” he said, looking across the warehouse space on W.S. Young Drive where mostly students and soldiers sorted and stacked donated goods.
“We collect donations and want to give what we have to those in need,” said Eastern Hills Middle School eighth-grader Corvin Jouett, part of the school’s Builders Club that has served at the food collection point for many years.
“I think this is a very good effort,” he said. “It’s important to help those in need. There are lots of people here. We’re getting it done fast.”
“I think it’s great,” said Early College High School ninth-grader Ilia Rodriguez Montalvo. “It gives students an opportunity to feel like we’re doing something important. I’m happy to help out.”
Considered the largest single-day food drive in Texas, Cockrell said the goal for the day stood at 2.5 million pounds of food donated at 21 locations across Waco, Temple, Killeen and points between and beyond.
The central collection point in Killeen, he said, would draw about 340,000 pounds of food, which along with cash donations, would last the Killeen center through the holiday season.
This past year, the Food Care Center in Killeen distributed about 2.35 million pounds of food to approximately 83,000 people, including 17,000 children 17 and younger and 16,000 senior citizens.
Across Killeen ISD this year, 45 schools conducted their own drives to contribute to the overall effort. Also, four school district administrative departments pitched in. KISD transportation and warehouse services transported much of the donated goods.
At Harker Heights Elementary School, one of many campuses that culminated its drive Friday, students worked diligently to drag boxes of food to the school entrance for transport. The school donated 3,192 items, filling 123 boxes.
“We do this to help less fortunate people,” said Harker Heights fourth-grader River Sibole. “It’s important because we want to help people and we want them to know that someone cares.”
“I hope it can help a lot of people,” said fourth-grader Lisardo Juarez. “I’m excited to help people.”
Like many schools, Harker Heights Elementary School classes competed to raise the most donated food. One third-grade class brought in 713 items.
“The whole point is to learn to give to help others,” Harker Heights Principal Carolyn Dugger said.
“You can see that it takes teamwork to organize it. What I love is seeing 8-year-old children so excited to help others. You can see the pride. This has a significant impact on their success.”
“We’re coming together,” said Ellison High School ninth-grader Hatem Muhammad, volunteering at the Special Events Center.
“Sometimes it seems like the world is mad at each other,” he said. “Here, we’re coming together. Sometimes we forget about people in need. I look forward to doing this some more as an adult.”