Vista Middle School recently held its annual all-school food drive, collecting more than 4,000 pounds of food for donation to the Ferndale Food Bank.
Leadership classes at Vista, taught by Frances Genger, organize the Vista Food Drive each year. In recent history, the food drive has been held in January at a time when food bank shelves may be depleted following the holidays, Genger said.
This year’s food drive featured especially strong school-wide participation. Several times throughout the food drive collection window, the classes called to request additional collection bins from the Ferndale Food Bank as donations continued to fill bins.
A total of 4,015.5 pounds of food was collected with participation from all classes at Vista over the course of the food drive, which spanned a little more than two weeks. Friendly competitions between classes, and a prize for the class bringing in the most donations, helped promote the school-wide effort.
“We had an important push at the end of the food drive with donations continuing to come in,” Genger said. “There was no ‘drop off’ in donations at the end of the food drive collection window, which was great to see especially with the government shutdown.”
Students organized food in food groups in preparation for the food pick-up day. Pick-up day featured leadership classes collecting final donations from classrooms, weighing food bins and loading donations into the Ferndale Food Bank van.
Leadership class projects such as the food drive are service-oriented efforts that help bring awareness to students about community needs. At the end of the food drive during the pick-up day, students had the opportunity to reflect on the project and discuss what participating in the effort meant to them.
“This is a project that really helps us to see the needs in our community,” Genger said. “It brings a lot of awareness to students about what is going on.”
Ferndale School District Superintendent Dr. Linda Quinn agrees. “We are very focused on social and emotional learning in the Ferndale School District. I am so proud to see our Vista students showing care and compassion in this way. These students are taking real steps to care for their community and I am proud of them for that.”
The food drive is one many projects the leadership classes at Vista work to organize. The leadership classes collected blankets and toy items during the fall for donation to the Seattle Children’s Hospital in memory of former Ferndale student, Makayla Nicolas. Other projects have included basket donations for the Ferndale Scholarship Foundation Dinner and Auction and a coin drive for cancer research and treatment.
The service projects at Vista are part of many service projects conducted by schools throughout the district to support a variety of needs and causes.
Upcoming this spring at Vista will be another donation drive to support essential non-food items for The Other Bank, as well as a caramel corn fundraiser to support Health in Haiti.