For more than a decade, juniors at Mt. Lebanon High School have been organizing a food drive.
Not even a global pandemic, quarantine or virtual learning could get in the way of the Class of 2022 achieving its goal: Helping others in need.
“We were pretty determined to make it happen. We wanted to carry on the tradition… and we wanted to help people,” said Jordan Nyisztor, junior class co-treasurer.
Typically, the food drive is an in-school event where homerooms compete to collect the most items, said Caroline Cozzens, junior class co-secretary. Due to COVID-19, there are no homerooms this year.
It was time to pivot.
“We definitely had to be a little more creative in finding ways to involve more people,” Jordan said.
The junior class food drive is a tradition at Mt. Lebanon. It’s something class officers said they looked forward to organizing since they were freshman.
This year, class officers put out two tables at the student entrances on November 3 to gather food from students and staff. They initially had planned to extend the collection into the community, but rising cases made the logistics of that goal impossible.
“In the times that we’re in, we should be doing everything that we can to give back,” Jordan said.
They sought out a worthy cause.
Caroline and her family have helped out at the Jubilee Soup Kitchen  in the past. During COVID-19, Jubilee has nearly doubled the number of people it serves, as financial struggles have skyrocketed during the pandemic.
The need at the soup kitchen was so great that Caroline’s mom put a request on community Facebook pages seeking donations.
Caroline, who had just gotten her learner’s permit at the time, spent two days driving around Mt. Lebanon with her mom, picking up donations from people’s front porches.
“I feel so fortunate to not have to worry about what soup kitchen or what food bank I have to go to for my next meal,” Caroline said.
Class leadership saw this as a way to bring the Mt. Lebanon community even closer—by doing good for others.
“A lot of families aren’t in as good of a financial state right now,” said Lauren Ghil, junior class co-vice president.
The goal is to continue the collection through the end of the month.
If a COVID-19 miracle strikes and cases begin to decline, class leaders still would like to find a way to include the community. (We will update you if that happens!)
Class officers include co-presidents Kenzie Hughes and Maddy Thompson, co-vice presidents Lauren Ghil and Tori Pecarchik, co-secretaries Sam Bailey and Caroline Cozzens and co-treasurers Swapnil Rana and Jordan Nyisztor. The students worked with Class of 2022 Student Council Advisor Andrew Kuskil and students activities director Judith Kolko to make the food drive happen.