For the past week, students across all grade levels at RM have been pitching in to donate various household items to our troops for Veterans Day on November 11. The SGA troops drive was a tremendous success, and students donated 354 items in total, which the SGA will send out in care packages.
The items to be collected were split up by twos between the grade levels. Seniors collected individually wrapped, peanut-free snacks, and juniors collected shampoos, conditioners, and body wash. Sophomores collected Q-tips and deodorant, and freshmen collected chapstick and sunscreen.
As an incentive to donate, the drive became a competition between classes, with a reward of ice-cream sandwiches for the grade level that collected the most items. By the end of the drive, the juniors came in first place with more than double the donations of other classes, collecting 170 items. The sophomores came in second with 75 items, while the seniors and freshmen collected 68 and 41 respectively.
In addition to collecting Q-tips and deodorant, the sophomore class also decided to collect donations in the form of money. After the initial drive was over, the sophomore class SGA took the money to the local CVS store to purchase the necessary items to donate. Ms. Kellinger remarked, “They thought that was easier, to ask kids to bring in money.”
The troop drive this year is a relatively new take on RM’s long tradition of honoring our troops. Social studies teacher Toni Kellinger said, “For many years, we did something called Treats for the Troops, which was a national movement where they collected extra Halloween candy, and there was a group of people who would take it away.” This year, rather than Treats for Troops, RM’s SGA looked into what troops want to receive care packages.
The SGA carefully constructed their items list to benefit the troops practically. Junior SGA Class President Nimah Nayel said, “All the materials were useful things that they actually need, instead of candy or letters, which are also nice, but these are more useful.” The care packages will supply basic necessities that are often overlooked for students but vital and difficult to come by for troops in the field.
The SGA not only considered the troops’ needs but also took student convenience into account. All of the items collected were readily available in most students’ homes or local drugstores, so the opportunity to donate was accessible for any student who wanted to help. As sophomore SGA Class President Kush Savsani said, with more of RM behind the cause, “[The SGA] could actually send out an amount of materials that would have an impact.”
For our troops, projects like this drive are often much needed reminders of their country’s respect and appreciation. Ms. Kellinger said, “When you’re thousands of miles from home, and you’re not near a drug store or anywhere where you can just go buy these things, it’s really uplifting to troops to not only get the care packages but to know that people at home are still remembering what they’re doing and their sacrifices.”
This year’s successful troop drive is yet another example of the RM community, including both students and staff, coming together under a common cause of goodwill. Savsani said, “It was really great to see the RM community get together and raise all these materials.”
The troop drive not only was a wonderful way to bring everyone together but also taught the RM community about creating a positive impact in the lives of others. As Nayel said, “I think it’s important for us as a community to not only focus on ourselves, but putting ourselves out there. Being involved in a society makes us better global citizens, and makes us better members and more influential, which is always good, especially if your influence is positive.”
Article Written by Helen Qian and Jennifer Li