Students at McDowell Intermediate High School fell short of their food drive goal to provide for 20 McDowell families in need of some assistance over the holiday season. During the first two weeks of the food drive at MIHS, students raised enough items to provide for only four families out of the 20 in need of extra support.
The deadline of the food drive was then extended another week, resulting in students donating enough to provide for 18 families, still leaving two without assistance.
About 900 items were brought in by students this year, but Nicholas Emmanuele, the adviser of MIHS Student Council, said the goal is ideally an average of one item per student in grades 9 through 10, which is approximately 1,100 students.
On the other hand, McDowell Senior High School’s Student Council ran its food drive during the same two weeks and successfully raised over 1,100 items to donate to the West Millcreek Food Pantry, but Emmanuele said he doesn’t think he would have changed the way MIHS approached their food drive.
“As a school, it’s really important to take care of each other… I think donating to families at McDowell as opposed to a foodbank is really helpful for our school culture.”
Emmanuele said he thinks those who failed to donate did so out of forgetfulness, not spite, and asked students to be “very cognizant and aware that sometimes it’s easy to help someone else.”
However, Daniel Wirley, a special education teacher in the building, thinks the problem is rooted deeper in the community.
“We have this idea at McDowell that we’re untouchable,” said Wirley, “that we’re not affected by certain things and that we’re different than a district that may have to struggle with these types of things, but we’re a Title One school now which means at least 28 percent of the student population is on free and reduced lunches, which is a really big deal.”
He voiced his thoughts on the “egocentric theme occurring at McDowell,” saying that more affluent students assume that everyone is taken care of as they are, when that is not the case.
Emmanuele said the MIHS Student Council has begun searching for different types of communication and outreach in hopes that student donations will increase during the next food drive.