The spirit of giving


Thuan Tran, Staff Writer

Rice, vegetables, chicken broth, and beans filled the JROTC building on Saturday, December 7th. JROTC Cadets transformed their archery range into a place where our neighbors can guarantee that their needs are met for the upcoming holidays. Hoover alumni joined the cause and generously donated 70 stuffed animals and clothing items. The food drive marks the end of 2019 and transitions into the new year 2020 with the theme that all our local families deserve to be blessed with an abundance of food.

The event commenced with a bilingual English and Spanish announcement welcoming our local families from Army Instructors Lieutenant Colonel Roy Campbell and First Sergeant William Mercado, and from the student-led cadet staff, Lieutenant Colonel Erick Belmudez and Second Lieutenant Karina Fisher. The room was designed as a track that visitors walked through to see all the food presented. After the first round, some families revisited the track for seconds as cadets made sure beforehand that there were bound to be surpluses.

5,000 pounds was JROTC’s goal for the holiday food drive this year. This is a grand number and even a seemingly impossible goal when compared to the food accumulated during the food drive’s first launch several years ago.

“We only had 100-and-something pounds,” said First Sergeant William Mercado. “This year, the Bravo Battalion accumulated a whopping amount of food in excess of 6,000 pounds, crushing their goal.”

JROTC is devoted to the value of selfless service. Its cadets were encouraged to bring at least 25 pounds of food. Some grew up with little in their households but gave the most. They gave over 100 pounds per cadet and participated in the distribution. Their choices exemplified selfless service because they were not required to help, yet manifested the compassion toward others in their shoes. As a result, they coordinated a successful event and exalted the working-class face of the program.

The holiday food drive left smiles on everyone’s faces. The local neighbors stopped at every table and thanked the cadets who managed their respective food group. Everyone left feeling satisfied and the cadets took their service learning lesson to heart. No one should be food insecure over the holidays. JROTC makes sure of this and every cadet knows the struggle as they stand posted and ready to give freely to those in need.