The Flagstaff High School Student Council is reaching out a hand this year to its own classmates in need.
Tori Noenickx, the community service director for the council, said this year’s annual canned food drive collections are going to Flagstaff Unified School District’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Program. The drive started Nov. 1 and the group has already collected nearly a 1,000 items. People interested in donating items can drop food off at the FHS front desk.
The student council has at least one community service project it does each month throughout the school year. The annual canned food drive is almost always held in November, she said. In past years, the student council has collected canned and other nonperishable food for St. Mary’s Food Bank. This year, the students wanted to support a project that hit a little closer to home, Noenickx said.
“We wanted to support these students who come to school despite what they’re going through,” she said.
A representative from the McKinney-Vento project came to speak to the council about the program and told them that there are about 150 known students at FHS that are either homeless or living in temporary conditions, such as shelters, campgrounds, motels, she said. The program also helps students whose housing situation may not be adequate to meet their needs, such as families who are living with relatives in crowded homes.
In reality, the number of students living in these types of conditions is probably much higher, she said. Many families and students don’t want their living situations to be known.
According to the McKinney-Vento program homepage, the program began in the fall of 1993 and helps students with enrollment, free lunch and transportation to school, school supplies, clothing and toiletry items, shower and laundry facilities, tutoring, and parenting classes and resources.
In order to encourage more of their fellow students to get involved with the drive, the student council is holding contests where the class with the most donations gets a prize. They’re also holding a “fill the truck” event from about 7:20 a.m. to 8 a.m. Dec. 1 at the school.