Harker upper school students donated 846 pounds of food to the Second Harvest Food Bank last month. The effort, spearheaded by parent Nina Yeats (Robert, grade 10) and avidly supported by sophomore Lori Berenberg, helped feed the hungry in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, where as many as one in four goes to bed undernourished, according to Second Harvest.
Yeats says the idea to sponsor the drive grew out of a family dinner conversation. “Our family was bouncing around ideas — why donations peak during the holidays, what motivates,” she said. “I made a few inquiries, found interest and registered Harker for the Holiday Food Drive.” Working with Second Harvest and librarian Lauri Vaughan, Yeats arranged for 10 barrels to be dropped off on campus shortly after Thanksgiving.
Not satisfied with a low-key collection effort, Berenberg really got things rolling. “When I realized the can drive was beginning at Harker, I could not just stand by,” said Berenberg, who approached her class dean, Jeffrey Draper. She and Draper came up with the idea to turn the collection into an informal competition between classes. “I put the plan into action. I made posters, labeled the barrels, moved them to convenient locations, spoke at school and class meetings, and posted it on the daily bulletin,” she said.
The barrels were available at morning drop-off curbs, in the library, plus Dobbins and Manzanita halls. Every napkin bin in the Edge was also labeled with a reminder to encourage participation. In the end, the barrels were filled and nearly 700 pounds of food were donated to Second Harvest, the single largest nonprofit provider of food to low-income households in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and the second largest food bank in the country.