Rancho Cotate sets lofty goal for canned food drive
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By Hayley Dougan  December 7, 2012 12:00 am

Last year, Rancho Cotate High School students raised 13,000 pounds of food during the annual Canned Food Drive for Neighbors Organized Against Hunger (NOAH), Rohnert Park's local food bank.

It's that time of year again, and students and teachers are joining forces in the fight against hunger.

This year's goal is set at 14,000 pounds, 1,000 pounds more than the previous year. Teachers are as motivated as ever with the promise of a paid day off to the home room that brings in the most cans. Last year, three classes alone brought in 8,500 pounds.

So far, Rancho Cotate has collected 4,432 pounds of canned food and it's only a few weeks into the drive. Many teachers like to wait until the very last minute to turn in the bulk of their cans, to keep things interesting. Students are encouraged to bring in cans with the promise of Spirit Points to the class with the most cans. At Rancho Cotate, the Canned Food Drive is a highly anticipated event.

Rancho's Associated Student Body (ASB) leadership class is in charge of the Canned Food Drive. Its students spend most of their time tallying each teacher's haul of food, promoting the food drive and carrying cans across the school to a spare room where they are stored. NOAH later picks up the thousands of pounds of food, which will be used to help Rancho Cotate's own local community.

According to Jessica Holman, RCHS ASB adviser, "Rancho raises more food than any other Sonoma County high school's canned food drive. I don't know of any other school that cares about their community as much as Rancho does."

The Canned Food Drive is not the only thing in which Rancho Cotate participates. The school also conducts four blood drives each year, which yield about 500 pints of blood total. They are the leading Sonoma County high school in blood donation to Blood Centers of the Pacific. Students rally to help the community in a number of ways, including sending shoes to the needy through Soles for Souls and donating money to breast cancer research.

For more information or photos, contact Hayley Dougan, ASB External Publicity Commissioner, or Jessica Holman at Jessica_Holman@crpusd.org.

Hayley Dougan is the ASB External Publicity Commissioner and student at Rancho Cotate High School.

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