Now in its seventh year, the Huntington High School student government’s annual collection of non-perishable food items is just as important as ever. Local pantries report their services are increasingly strained and their stocks are routinely in severe need replenishment.
Huntington students, teachers and staff members recently did their part to address the situation. Supported by the local community, the teenagers collected an “amazing” number of items over the course of several weeks. The food was boxed and stored until last Saturday when dozens of folks turned out to stuff a large school bus and then went about delivering it all across town for ultimate distribution to those who need it most.
“Wow did the Huntington community come through,” said Fred Bisogno, who along with faculty colleague Anthony Troffa serves as the student government’s advisor. “We surely set the record for Stuff the Bus this year. We had a great response from many of our faculty members, too. People like Erik Bruckbauer, who brought us at least a bag of groceries every time he went food shopping. Camille Tedeschi and Deborah Beck ran class competitions involving food collection and gathered a ton of non-perishables. So many of the other teachers and staff contributed as well.”
The items collected were organized and boxed each day and then stored in Mr. Bisogno’s classroom on the school floor of the high school until last Saturday.
“Our response at local supermarkets such as Stop and Shop and King Kullen was very successful thanks to members of student government and Young Leaders who sometimes braved freezing temperatures to collect goods,” Mr. Bisogno said.
The recent Stuff the Bus campaign included many opportunities for the students who participated in it to learn and grow. “One day when we were collecting in front of Stop and Shop, the Ancient Order of the Hibernians showed up to collect for their food drive,” Mr. Bisogno recalled. “A turf war was about ready to break out when the manager of Stop and Shop stepped in and explained to the AOH that we had the right to collect because we were on the schedule. The student government students got together and gave the collection day to the AOH and then did something even more remarkable; they turned over the food they had already collected to the AOH to give them a successful start to their food drive. Their members were stunned by the generosity of our students.”
Huntington High School’s Interact and Key Clubs also pitched in to help make the recent drive successful. “Many students in the Class of 2020 showed up last Saturday to help move and deliver items to the food pantry,” Mr. Bisogno said.
Former New York Mets player Michael Cuddyer and his wife, Claudia also made a “very generous donation” to the campaign along with Mr. Bisogno’s mother in law all the way from Virginia Beach via Amazon Pantry. The high school social studies teacher taught with Claudia Cuddyer in Virginia before moving to Huntington.
“Anthony and I are truly amazed at the way people have just given to this cause,” Mr. Bisogno said. “It would not be such a success without the whole community coming together.”
Mr. Bisogno shares his classroom with Humanities Chairperson Joseph Leavy, who had to navigate around the growing pile of boxes each day. Huntington Coach Corp. donated the use of a large school bus last Saturday. The bus was stuffed full of the food items and then out across the town for delivery of the items.