This post was published on Oregon Live on June 5, 2018 by Corlyn Voorhees
Centennial High School students won several thousand dollars to finance their food pantry and upgrade school computers in a national community service competition.
The Future Business Leaders of America chapter at Centennial High was one of 50 student teams selected as winners in the Lead2Feed Challenge. The goal was for students to demonstrate leadership by developing a service project to address a need in their community.
Centennial High’s team won a $5,000 grant for a nonprofit of their choice and $1,000 for technology.
For their project, which they deemed “Hygiene for Humanity,” the Centennial students compiled hygiene care packages for fellow students. They made the choice after learning there are 400 homeless students in the school district, which covers portions of East Portland and Gresham. The packages included items such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, baby wipes, hairbrushes and feminine pads. The group compiled the products through donations by students and community members as well as using funds they raised at a carnival.
“We created 410 care packages — 200 for girls and 210 for boys,” said Centennial High junior Makaila Susi, 17, who participated in the challenge. “We gave the care packages to staff members and counselors who requested them, and then they distributed them to the students.”
The $5,000 prize will go to a nonprofit the group established in 2014 that operates a food pantry run out of a converted school bus called “Food for Families,” Susi said. The bus, stationed at the high school, serves as a “market” where community members in need can pick from a selection of food with the help of volunteers. The $1,000 will be used to fix school computers or buy new ones.
“I think we were all just very shocked and humbled to win,” said Susi. “We didn’t really think that out of all the projects, ours would be recognized. But it’s great to know that we won and that our contribution made a difference.”
— Corlyn Voorhees