BVH students volunteer to distribute food amid pandemic


Luis Suarez

Juniors Daniel Boll (middle) and Aaron Pangilinan (middle) look up to the voice of one of the Courage to Call directors orders while Benjamin Conte (right) looks at his community service form. The students volunteered for the Courage to Call's food drive at Southwestern College.

Bonita Vista High (BVH) juniors Daniel Boll, Aaron Pangilinan and Benjamin Conte wake up bright and early to help pack and distribute food at Southwestern College with “Courage to Call,” a non-profit that works to serve veterans, military, reservists, guards and their families, routinely doing food distributions twice a month.

The students became aware about the food drive after Boll received an email from South Bay Helps. The email was forwarded to him by his parents and called for volunteers to assist for a food distribution on April 25 between 7:30 a.m to 2 p.m.

Jennifer Santis, community liaison for Courage to Call, said that the food drive was the first one hosted since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Despite the setback of the outbreak, she explained that they came back with the same momentum as before. The organization received 400 households worth of food, assistance from both campus and Chula Vista police, and had 20 to 30 of their own staff to assist. They also separated  cars into separate lanes in order to practice social distancing.

“We have doubled the amount of food that we’re giving out [per] household […] We have some of our own staff here too, [and] we’ve had several organizations donate bags. It’s going really great. We have a lot of support,” Santis said.

Once he arrived at the food drive, Pangilinan said that he along with his peers were put to work packing bags of foods such as potatoes, onions, potatoes, apples and pears. Once all of their food was packed, Pangilian said that they were instructed to carry bags of the food to tables for other volunteers to supply cars with them.

“We just pack, [and when we finish,] we just [give] them out to the people in line [in] the cars,” Pangilinan said.

After doing all this work, the students felt they enjoyed themselves and were content that their work had done significant good for the people around them. Pangilian expressed his joy at having his friends around him as they volunteered together.

“Just being with my friends is also good […] because it makes it more fun doing work.”  Pangilinan said.

Meanwhile, Boll thought that his hard work would inspire the people around him to go out and volunteer despite the cautious times.

“It’s hard work– hard, honest work, [but still] Aaron’s pretty inspiring. He’s feeling very energetic and thinks he’s doing a lot,” Boll said.

Santis says that high school students usually come out to volunteer with them, but they had a low turn out the day of the Southwesten food drive. Despite the low turnout, she welcomes any high school students to come volunteer while giving a reminder of the precautionary steps that will need to be taken under the conditions of the times as of now.

“[High school students are] more than welcome to [come]. It’s a great opportunity. We’re hoping that double the amount of people will come through [at later events].”

Overall, the students came out feeling motivated and refreshed after leaving their house during these tough times and recommend others as well to come out and volunteer.

“Just do it if you want to. It’s fun!”  Pangilinan said.