For its first charitable endeavor of the school year, the Helping Hands club at Massapequa High School’s Ames Campus helped feed the hungry. Twenty ninth graders traveled to the Island Harvest food bank in Hauppauge on Oct. 8, where students spent three hours packaging food for families.
Specifically, the student volunteers took bushels of broccoli out of large boxes and wrapped them, so the vegetables were ready to be given out. Island Harvest is a non-profit organization that strives to end hunger and food waste on Long Island. The Helping Hands club last visited the facility two years ago.
“It makes the students aware of the fact that people are in need and are struggling to find their next meal,” said co-adviser Nicole Reiss, who led the trip along with Tara Camilleri. “Anytime where they are able to participate in something in which they are helping people, it gives them a sense of the reality that some people face.”
Students said that they enjoyed the opportunity to help out and said trips like this are the reason they joined Helping Hands.
“Although we didn’t see the direct impact of what we were doing,” Griffin Hunt said, “I know that it will help people. I like helping out in the community.”
Griffin added that the experience opened his eyes to the struggles of other people on Long Island, and makes him want to do his part to help out. Kayla Elfenbein added that she wants to make a difference in the lives of others and felt the Island Harvest trip gave her a chance to make a meaningful impact.
Ava Collins said that she didn’t realize how big of an organization Island Harvest is, how much food it takes in and gives out, and how many volunteers it has. She said she was glad to take part in an activity that would make people happy and learned that “the littlest things can make a big difference.”
Upcoming events for Helping Hands include a food drive, a book and pajama drive for the children in the Headstart program, and a visit to the Ronald McDonald house to bake treats for families staying there.
1: Students from the Ames Campus Helping Hands club volunteered at the Island Harvest food bank in Hauppauge on Oct. 8.
2: Ninth graders, from left, Sophia Diaz, Amelia Caselnova and Lilly Cianciotta unboxed and bagged bushes of broccoli at the Island Harvest food warehouse.
Photos courtesy of the Massapequa School District