Students at Temecula Middle School collected nearly 2,500 food items in a monthlong food drive from early November to Dec. 1. The food drive aimed to feed Temecula’s homeless, seniors on fixed incomes and others who have difficulty purchasing food for their families due to low paying jobs or other circumstances has reached a very successful conclusion.
With the help of TMS Principal Marvin Morton, students, teachers and the community, the students filled eight bins of food and other necessities. Social studies teacher Robert Eilek inspired his students to take action after learning that the city of Temecula was terminating its participation in helping to provide morning meals for the homeless. He contacted Community Mission of Hope to gather information about the morning meal program since they were a partner with the city in providing morning meals for the homeless.
“I thought it would be a great opportunity for Temecula Middle School students to show compassion by contributing food and other necessities and help fill the void created by the city’s decision,” Eilek said. “I think the students gained an insight into the problems of homelessness and how we, as a society, need to address this problem. Often times, society dismisses the homeless as drug addicts or as individuals who ‘choose’ to be homeless; however, statistics show these stereotypes to be false assumptions.”
After getting approval, Eilek made contact with the Community Mission of Hope, the remainder of the drive was handled by students, who gave up their lunch breaks and their time before and after school to plan and execute the food drive.
As they said, “We made and hung up posters, made daily morning announcements, talked to classes encouraging students to donate food and other items and made and passed out flyers.”
“We learned that a few helping hands can help feed many who are need. Even if someone does a little bit to help others, it can go a long way. We also learned that working as a team can do much more to accomplish your goals and dreams,” they said.
Everyone involved with the food drive expressed their gratitude to the generosity and involvement of the community. Eilek said he hopes to continue the food drive annually and not only as a holiday season drive because the students recognized that homelessness is a year-round condition. TMS Cares hopes for successful drives to come and anticipates similar outcomes, because as Eilek said, “The parents in the Temecula Middle School community always rise to the occasion.”