CHS Food Pantry to Host first ever Drive-Thru Food Drive


Freshman Sam Keeports and Junior Grace Coller, the students leaders of the CHS Food Pantry, collect food at a Pirates home football game.

Colin Kind

***This event has since been cancelled due to the two-week closing of the high school.

This year the Cinnaminson High School Food Pantry, in partnership with the Jane Weilenbeck fund, is hosting its first ever drive-thru food drive on Saturday, November 14, on the auditorium side parking lot of CHS. The food drive is being held as a chance to give back to the community through collecting food donations, since many of the events from prior years have been cancelled due to Covid-19 guidelines. 

As a result of Covid-19, organizing this year’s food drive has been more difficult than organizing past food drives because previously there were more opportunities for students to bring in food and donate towards the drive. 

“The most challenging part about organizing the event is being able to have more students involved to help. In the past the students would bring the food to school during spirit week,” Mrs. Fratto, the treasurer of the Jane Weilenbeck Fund, said. “We were also able to award points for full meals, thus we always received a lot of those.” 

The Jane B. Weilenbeck (J.W.B.) Needy Family Fund was founded in 1982 and was established to give back directly to the families in Cinnaminson schools and the community as a whole. Jane worked in the Cinnaminson School District as a teacher, guidance counselor and social worker.  After she passed away, another Cinnaminson social worker, Marita Mattei, as well as some of Jane’s other colleagues, worked to create an organization in Jane’s name that would continue the charitable work that she did over her many years working for the community. 

Freshman Samantha Keeports and junior Grace Coller are student leaders involved with the CHS Food Pantry.  Sam shared how this year’s event was developed while in the middle of a pandemic: “It’s been pretty difficult to help the food bank given the current circumstances of COVID-19, but over the summer and fall Grace and I have met with people in the community, such as Ms. McCann, and the Jane Weilenbeck Fund [Committee], to see if they would be interested in working with us.”  

Sam and Grace have been working with Ms. McCann to process the item requests that are sent to the CHS Food Pantry. They have been working closely with the local St.Vincent DePaul Society to shop for and deliver requested items. The mission of the CHS Food Pantry is to “distribute food/toiletry donations to Cinnaminson community members in times of need.”  

The success of the food drive relies on community support and volunteers. However, with Covid-19 restrictions in place, it isn’t feasible for the food drive to have a bunch of volunteers helping out at the event. Despite the differences this year, there are still ways for students to get involved with helping the Food Pantry. 

 Ms. McCann, CHS vice principal and the faculty member in charge of the CHS Food Pantry, identified ways students could support the cause: “Students who are interested in a larger role can reach out to me about helping to plan and fulfill orders for families.  Everyone can participate in either our food drives or just contributing food for families – our food pantry is somewhat depleted and having more items on hand to deliver to families would be helpful.”

All students are encouraged to help out by dropping off non-perishable food donations at the food drive event on Saturday. For a complete list of items required to make a whole meal, see the event flyer for a list of items. 

The J.W.B. committee consists of staff members from all of the Cinnaminson Schools. This year, each school in the district is having its own food drive. NAS and Rush will host the upcoming Adopt-a-Family events. 

As the CHS Food Pantry is only in its second year with new student leaders and organizers, the volunteers are working to establish a foundation upon which to spread the word, and the services, of the CHS Food Pantry throughout the community.