The Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) chapter from Jersey Shore (JS) Area Senior High School hosted a district-wide food drive during the month of November in conjunction with the Jersey Shore Education Foundation and the New Love Center. They set a goal to fill 500 holiday meal boxes and collected various holiday foods, such as cranberry sauce, stuffing, corn, green beans, and gravy, which were donated to the New Love Center in Jersey Shore. The FBLA chapter then took the donations and packaged them into holiday meal boxes for families in need. The New Love Center provides these meals to almost 500 food insecure families every year during the holiday season, so there was a great need for this project in the community.

JS FBLA asked students, parents, faculty, and staff to donate specific items to contribute to the boxes, and they asked for donations from local businesses and individuals for chickens to include in each box. The group wanted to spur community engagement through their social media campaign, #weSHOREcare, as well as through posters for businesses who supported the food drive. Upon finishing the food drive, all of the schools met and exceeded their goals. In addition to the food collections, a total of $10,800 to date was collected and will be donated to the New Love Center to assist with the purchase of the chickens and other expenses. Approximately $500 of this will be donated to students who qualify for free and reduced lunch in order to assist them with the costs of their Advanced Placement (AP) tests. All of the extra food items were given to the New Love Center for distribution through their café, backpack program, and Easter meal boxes.

Faculty, staff and FBLA officers worked to come up with various incentives for the students if the goals were met. To promote community involvement, Student Council and Jersey Shore FBLA hosted a kickoff to the Principals’ Night Out from 8:00-9:00 pm on Dec. 14. They provided s’mores to local community members and any students and staff from Jersey Shore Area School District. Mobile fire pits were set up by the football field in order to roast the s’mores and to stay warm. Faculty members from the high school attended the kickoff and provided mulled cider. The following morning, JS FBLA delivered juice, coffee, and muffins for the principals and vice principals, and the assistant superintendent cooked a hot breakfast.

Throughout the food drive, members of the schools, along with the community, were extremely supportive of the project and the FBLA chapter’s endeavors. This school year, the Jersey Shore Senior High School has been following the theme of “Compassion Counts.” It is evident that showing compassion towards one another brings out the best in people, so the schools have been encouraging not only their students, but also all faculty and staff to show compassion towards others, even if it is just the smallest gesture. The weSHOREcare project embodies the idea of compassion within the district right now, and the amount of kindness that was shown by the community during this entire project.