The aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent fuel shortages may have complicated matters for East Islip High School’s holiday food drive, held each year on the Thursday before Thanksgiving, but altruistic students and community members did not falter in their quest to provide food for the needy.

In the past, teams of students from the student council, STARS and the other school clubs have visited nearly every household in the East Islip, Islip Terrace and Great River community on the weekend before the food drive, delivering fliers asking for donations of frozen turkeys and nonperishable food items on behalf of those in need. They then return to those houses on the following Thursday evening to pick up donated food “trick-or-treat” style. Vehicles from local churches and food pantries wait in the high school parking lot as the students return with the collected donations. This year the students were unable to drive around the community to drop off fliers or pick up the donations, so they only left the requests and returned to collect donations on foot from households within walking distance of the school. Community members who resided further away were asked to deliver their donations to the staging area near the gym entrance in the high school parking lot, and on the night of Nov. 15, the cars, trucks and bags of food poured in from all over the East Islip School District.

“It was an incredible experience,” said student council adviser Frances Li. “I am so proud of my kids and so humbled by the district’s response to those in need. It is amazing how many people worked together to help others. This is what teaching is all about – learning and helping each other.”
“Many of our local churches depend on our food drive to help feed our community members during the holidays, and the relief efforts associated with Hurricane Sandy put an additional burden on our local food pantries, so this year’s drive was extremely important,” added East Islip High School Principal William Brennen. “On behalf of everyone at East Islip High School, we thank those who participated and contributed for their continued kindness, generosity and support of our community.”