Helping slam dunk hunger

With high school basketball season in full swing, the Klahowya Secondary School Junior High Honor Society is doing its part to score food for local food banks.

Students are collecting food items at KSS home basketball games tonight through Feb. 13 in an effort led by KSS Junior High Honor Society adviser Jeff Kreifels.

"I am always looking for opportunities for them to volunteer/do service projects as it is one of the fundamental purposes of Honor Society," Kreifels said. "When I noticed that KSS had basketball games on six straight Fridays, I began to form the idea."

Kreifels said he intentionally waited until after Christmas break to begin the effort since most food banks run low on donations after the holidays.

"We received 19 items the first week and 29 the second week," he said. "We have heard from fans each week 'Oh, I forgot my cans'-we just smile and say 'No problem, we will be here the next few weeks.'"

The KSS cheerleaders have also helped in the effort by passing out fliers to the crowd advertising the remaining Food Drive Fridays, and based upon the first two weeks, Kreifels said he's talking to students about doubling their original goal of 100 items.

"I think it would be great if even visiting fans would bring in a can or two. With four games left in our food drive, the girls play Olympic and Bremerton, and the boys play NK and Kingston," he said. "We are in competition on the court, but we all live in the same county. The needy people that might be helped could be right next door, whether the fans are from Seabeck, Silverdale, Bremerton, Poulsbo or Kingston. It would be great if this would become a county project and not just a KSS project."

Kreifels said there could be a tremendous impact be if every school in the county had Food Drive Fridays at their basketball games for the next month. "All it takes is a few volunteers, an opportunity to get the word out and the food banks could get 2,000 cans instead of just the 200 that will come from KSS," he added.

Once the drive ends, Kreifels said he going to try to bring the club's officers with him, so they can actually see firsthand what a food bank is like.

"I think most of them only know of 'food drives' but don't know much about where the food goes," he said. "After that, I will ask the leaders to share with the rest of the Honor Society what happened to the food and what the food bank was like. Maybe some of them will decide that they want to continue helping the food bank more than just at the holidays. Maybe some of them will want to volunteer."

Through all of their volunteering, students are learning to look out not only for their own interests, but for the interests of others, and they find areas to make a difference, he said.

"In essence, I am trying to help them learn that they can make their community, their country a better place one person at a time--by helping others, they learn that it can be fun, joyful, sometimes difficult, but almost always fulfilling," he said.

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