Posted 11/25/2020 10:00AM

Tim LaBudde, front, Evelyn Vajda, left, and Max Vanderwilden helped coordinate the food drive for Acord.

High school students show drive in helping food pantry

Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School students annually participate in the Acord Food Pantry food drive. This year, they were not sure if they could hold the event given the realities of COVID-19. Fortunately, students knew the power of #HWGivesBack and were determined to find a way to keep the tradition going, especially since they knew that so many more people needed help this year.

The food drive quickly morphed into a competition among grade levels. Each of the four classes was assigned a category of items in demand at Acord. Students brought in items daily and stacked them on a table in the front lobby.  

Students in the Intensive Learning-Academic Support (ILAS) program took over. Tim LaBudde, Evelyn Vajda and Max Vanderwilden, assisted by staff members Stefanie Rogal, Susan Howland, Kelly Nygren and Heather Maes, worked to sort the items by class and kept track of daily counts. Each morning they also made PA announcements at school to inform everyone of who was in the lead. Social media platforms were driving the competition to greater heights and the competition was fierce.

On Friday, Nov. 20, Hamilton and Wenham police officers delivered 1,489 items to the Acord Food Pantry – surpassing the amount collected last year by 307 items.

As for the competition, the seniors took first place with 741 items, followed by juniors (449), sophomores (176) and freshman (123).

 “Thanks to our students and families, the shelves at Acord were filled with a variety of items for families to choose from,” said Principal Eric Tracy. “COVID-19 did not diminish our students’ sense of community or the Generals spirit.”