Help for the holidays

Francis Salazar, Staff writer

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It’s that time of year again, when holiday music is playing too early and Texas flips between winter, fall and spring. The time when students aren’t sure if they can wear dresses to school or if it’s time to bring out the sweaters and sweatpants. The time of year where Allen High School donates to Allen Community Outreach.


Around this time of year, it’s difficult time for families that struggle economically to provide food or other needed supplies for their families. Allen Community Outreach (ACO) and DECA — the Distributive Education Clubs of America –have come together to collect 3,000 cans for these families.


“We don’t really have a can count,” DECA sponsor Heath Duncan said.“We just really want to get as many people involved as possible and to gather thousands of cans to be delivered before the holidays.”


Last year the high school held several can drives for ACO at the same time, this year DECA is leading the charge for the donations. The students behind the can drive are seniors Hope Fortner and Brendan Roethel.


“We did this as a competition for DECA to host a community project,” Roethel said. “Instead of doing our own food drive, we’d invite the entire school to raise more cans for our community.”


According to Duncan, this year’s can drive collected more cans than were collected last year. Duncan said he believes the school needs to support our community, and one way is to support ACO.


“I think it’s been a lot more effective this year,” Fortner said. “Since all the clubs are doing it together I think it’s been more effective this year; we raised more cans than last year.”


Due to the several food drives concurrently occurring, DECA suggested to the other clubs that everyone should hold a collaborative can drive together instead of doing several can drives at once.


“We feel that as a business organization, that our gifts are management, marketing and advertising, so we’re putting that to good use by putting all the student organizations involved, and we’re all kind of collaborating,” Duncan said.


ACO has supported our community for a long time and Allen has supported ACO throughout the years.


“The impact that the students and their families make to provide food is vital,” ACO’s Chief Operating Officer Marjorie Vaneskahian said.


During the holiday season, ACO has helped more than 400 families and about 100 families every month.


“Knowing that ACO is preventing hunger is indeed not only the mission, but the best part of helping our neighbors,” Vaneskahian said.


The holiday season isn’t the most important time to donate or volunteer, the need is year round. There are several times and opportunities to donate, such as in August with “Fill the Bus” drive for school supplies.


“Families struggle to pay bills, keep employment, and feed their children each day of the year,” Vaneskahian said. “No doubt that the holidays bring added stress to families so some needs due change in November and December.”


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