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Helping hands: San Domenico’s food drive makes a positive impact

Ryan Hopper
Closing remarks after successfully loading all the food into the truck

On a fall morning, in the crisp morning air, people gathered in front of Dominican Hall on the Friday before the break for the annual Thanksgiving food drive. From kindergarteners to grandparents, members of the San Domenico community shared in the joy of helping others. 

Teacher Mirza Kahn opening up the food drive ceremony (Ryan Hopper)

The food drive started with a speech from Mirza Khan, Director of Philosophy, Ethics and World Religions. Khan outlined the importance of giving. The whole school clapped as he introduced the first graders who sang “A Song In My Heart.” The performers were excited, the grandparents were proud, and the highs schoolers were respectful as the crowd clapped along.

Next the middle school student council members spoke. The eighth grade leaders took turns going to the mic and sharing facts like how one-sixth of Americans can’t afford food and half of the food in the U.S. is thrown out. 

“Sometimes miracles are not extraordinary things,” an eighth grader said.

Following the speeches, the middle and upper school chorus sang the song “Good Friend” by Emily King. The song had themes of gratitude and giving with the repeating lyrics: “Something I need I don’t already have, I know I’ll get it from a good friend.” 

The leader of the Social Justice club, Olivia Williams, came next and gave a powerful speech about why it’s important to donate food.

The guitar group performing (Ryan Hopper)

We can be the reason why a provider feels secure in having enough food on their table. You can be the reason someone is grateful,” Williams said.

Next the guitar group performed. Through strings and wood, built to make the most perfect sound, the guitarists played a beautiful song, which kept grandparents, parents and students engaged.

The loudest applause was when the kitchen staff were welcomed to the stage. Everyone was eager to show their gratitude and love for the workers. Ricardo Zavala shared his story about when he first came to the U.S. and had only the love of his family. He told the crowd that he believes that kindness and generosity will bring goodness into your life, as it has for him. 

Kailash Brummel preforming

For the grand finale, Mr Khan invited Kailash Brumwell, a young talented reggae singer and celebrity in San Domenico community, to the stage. Grandparents, parents, students and teachers stood listening to the impressive skills of this young talent. The crowd was silent so as not to miss a single note of Brumwell’s song. 

With 47,035 items collected that all had to be put in trucks, San Domenico students got to work. As is the tradition, students lined up next to their classmates and passed the food down to the next group of students so that everyone could experience the joy of helping others. 

Each class made a few statements before passing the food to the next class. 

“I brought a few cans,” one kindergartener said. “I am super happy to help people.”

One second grader, who was well trained veteran in the passing food tradition, explained her feelings about the food drive:

“I feel good because I know it’s going somewhere where it’s actually going to be used and can help other people.”

High-schooler Alden Brown-Lewin has been at San Domenico since middle school.

“It’s year number four for me I think. I brought like 12 cans,” Brown-Lewin said. 

To Maple Silverstein, this food drive reflects the essence of the San Domenico community.

“Having all the different generations here really shows how this school is a big community and a big home…it spans from the littlest kindergartner all the way up to a grandparent,” Silverstein said. 

And it truly does. Two grandparents, Jack and Dotty Stein have been to the food drive a few times before and confirmed their appreciation.

“It’s so beautiful,” Dotty Stein said. “It’s so spectacular. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“The intention of the food drive is not only to help our neighbors, in a spirit of solidarity and love, but also to learn and practice service ourselves,” Khan said. “So often in life we become preoccupied with ourselves and what we want, how things affect us.”

Doing something like the food drive helps reorient ourselves to think of others. Khan thinks this is super important, especially right now for young people looking at all the problems in the world; it is important we know we can help and create a feeling of hope for our future.

Kids passing food down to the trucks (Ryan Hopper)

This food drive is rooted deeply in the history of the school. While the food drive has only been around 20 years, it aligns with the core values of San Domenico. Saint Dominic, after whom the school is named, was a very wealthy student with nice belongings, such as books and fancy clothes. Knowing his neighbors were suffering, Saint Dominic sold his belongings and used the money to help out those in need. 

“And so our school is really founded on that idea that the whole purpose of education isn’t just learning, and it isn’t just books,” Khan said. “It’s actually [about] making the world a better place in some way. And so that’s always been part of the [core] values of our school.”


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About the Contributor
Merritt Sellers
Merritt Sellers, Head Illustrator/Social Media Manager/Reporter
Merritt Sellers is a sophomore at San Domenico and a contributor of The Panther Press. She enjoys sailing, sewing, and art.

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