PLHS students collect 25,000 pounds of food for distribution
by SCOTT HOPKINS
Published - 12/20/17 - 07:04 AM | 14209 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Senior members of the Point Loma High School's NJROTC unit stand behind nearly 26,000 pounds of food their unit collected over the past weeks, most of it outside three local supermarkets. The food will go to food banks in Ocean Beach and San Diego. / PHOTO BY SCOTT HOPKINS
Senior members of the Point Loma High School's NJROTC unit stand behind nearly 26,000 pounds of food their unit collected over the past weeks, most of it outside three local supermarkets. The food will go to food banks in Ocean Beach and San Diego. / PHOTO BY SCOTT HOPKINS
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Last year, students in the NJROTC program at Point Loma High School collected more than 16,000 pounds of food for area families in need over the holidays. But they weren't satisfied and thought they could do better than the eight tons they helped deliver to the Ocean Beach and San Diego Food Bank.

So what did the 150 teens do for an encore?

"The cadet leadership really took ownership and wanted to improve on it and do a lot more than last year," said Christina Pickett, senior naval science instructor, was overjoyed at the achievement of her cadets who took it upon themselves to organize this year's big drive.

With final donations arriving, the total this year is expected to soar to more than 25,000 pounds, an increase of more than 50 percent over last year.

Key to the drive's success was the cooperation of Stump's Market on Voltaire Street and the Ralph's stores on Rosecrans Street and Sports Arena Boulevard.

"On weekdays, they stood outside these stores in two shifts from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and 5 to 7:30 p.m. with marked donation boxes,” Pickett said. However, the cadets did not ask for donations, choosing to let shoppers approach them with questions.

During the full week schools were closed for Thanksgiving, the cadets boosted their drive with shifts from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 1 to 4 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.

"Giving up their vacation time made a really big difference, being out there to support each other and help the cause," Pickett noted.

Josephine Hart, a PLHS senior, is the commanding officer of all 13 NJROTC units in the San Diego Unified School District. Last year she was the commanding officer of the PLHS squad.

"There are a lot of kids and families who don't get enough food during the holidays," she said, "and last year Point Loma High collected a little more than 40 percent of the districtwide collection." This year, although final numbers aren't in, "We are estimating we are responsible for about 70 percent of the collection."

"This amazing total comes from our dedicated cadets," Hart said, "Posting themselves outside stores and the community has been extremely helpful in that. We added information of the Next Door app and Craigslist and the community responded.

"Our cadets have worked extremely hard," Hart added, "Giving up parts of their break, and that's why we have the food stored here in our classroom so they can take pride knowing they did this for someone who has less than them. Even some of their peers (both cadets and other students) cannot afford to have full meals over the (current winter) break."
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