By Maya Pottiger
Northeast High School got in the spirit of giving in December. The high school hosted three donation drives to give back to the community during the holiday season.
The Interact Club held a winter coat drive; the Marine Corps Junior ROTC Unit (MJROTC) held a Toys for Tots event; and there was a school-wide food drive for a local church.
At the coat drive, the Interact Club gave out 524 coats in 40 minutes, according to Tammy Littleton, the club’s faculty adviser.
“After we’d done all this work with these coats, I worried, ‘What if nobody comes?’ And then, when people started coming, I was like, ‘What if we don’t have enough?’” Littleton said. “It was a beautiful but heartbreaking thing to see so many people with needs. But, luckily, we were able to fulfill some.”
The Interact Club meets once a week, and the goal is to come up with ideas that give back to the community. In the past, the Interact Club has run a food pantry, partnered with Backpacks of Love, held a military drive and held a toy drive for cancer patients.
“When you’re warm, you don’t think about anybody being cold,” Littleton said.
The school-wide food drive is a tradition that started in the early 2000s, said math teacher and food drive organizer Kevin Gast. After a few years off from the food drive, Gast wanted to start it again.
“It’s a big deal and a great tradition,” Gast said. “The kids have done tremendous things, and we wanted to get that going again.”
The record amount of food collected was 17,000 pounds. All of the food is donated to the Community United Methodist Church.
“This is important to these kids because they know it’s not going off to a faraway place,” Gast said. “This food is feeding families in the community.”
Abigail Ward, a junior and the executive officer of MCJROTC, said the Toys for Tots drive is an annual tradition. This year, cadets filled five boxes full of toys to donate.
“What I really love about the holiday party is it’s not only great time for the community to come together, but it celebrates something bigger than us. We’re celebrating collecting these toys for families who can’t afford to have what necessarily we all enjoy in the program and in Pasadena,” Ward said. “We’re coming together to celebrate being able to reach out and help the community, not just celebrate the holidays. It’s a nice reminder that, even as students, we can make an impact outside our families and outside our schools.”