College, elementary students join efforts for food drive

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Students from Valencia Elementary School recently collected 2,342 cans for the food pantry at the Community Services Center.

Valencia student Amy Carter went above and beyond the call, donating more than 200 cans of food.

According to Amy’s mom, Christie Carter, when Amy asked for money she thought her daughter wanted to buy a toy. When they got to the store, Amy Carter bought all the cans she could with the $20 her mother had given her. Christie Carter matched the $20 her daughter spent, bringing the total to 200 cans, she said.

“She’s just so excited about it,” Carter said.

The canned food drive was a joint effort between Valencia students and an Eastern New Mexico University freshman seminar class.

Professor Don Elder credits freshman seminar program directors Suzanne Balch-Lindsey and Cheryl Pachak-Brooks for issuing the challenge to all freshman seminar students to come up with a community service project.

“The unanimous choice was a food drive for a Roosevelt County food bank,” Elder said.

By hosting the food drive, Elder’s class was able to see what is involved in the process of helping others. Though the freshman students did not collect cans themselves, they were the go between for all parties involved, Elder said.

During the two-week challenge, Elder and his students visited Valencia to pick up cans and deliver them to the food pantry. Through the challenge, Elder felt that his students were able to sense that they could make a difference in the community, he said.

“You can do more than complain, you can do something (to change a situation),” Elder said.

Valencia Principal Todd Morris said the food drive afforded him and the school the opportunity to give back to the community.

“This was an opportunity to help out, it was an important thing,” Morris said.

Of the 22 students in Elder’s class, only two are from the area, he said. From the onset, the students have taken the initiative and put the project together.

”No matter where these kids come from, they have been totally supportive,” said Elder.

Students from Joanne Bargas class will be treated to pizza Friday by the freshman seminar class for collecting the most cans.

“I am really proud of my students,” Morris said. “I think they did a great job,” Morris said.