Mentzer said Christmas is a time of giving in a season when many people need it.
“There are lots of people who are poor and forgotten. We need to remember the elders and what they’ve done for us. We want them to know that we appreciate them,” he said.
Dr. Paul Reynolds, superintendent of Hopi Jr/Sr High School, addressed the students before they went out to deliver the food. He praised them for showing the true spirit of the holiday by giving something back to the community.
There are 11 NHS students as led by President John Toms and Vice President Alyssa Fredericks. Toms may have been huddled up in the bus to stay warm, but Fredericks made sure that Mentzer felt the holiday spirit by presenting him with some snow down his back.
The other NHS members who got into the act included Jeremy Jelle, Dwight Honyouti, Ritchie Sahneyah, Tara Secakuku, Cheryl Talashie, Eva Bahnimptewa, Daryn Melvin and NorRanda Yazzie. While Melvin and Talashie may usually be camera shy, they were glad to get into the photos with the elders.
Mentzer said the NHS charter calls for student members to have a community service project, so the NHS students selected this as their project eight years ago.
The students had donation boxes this year at the Hopi Tribe’s government complex, Kykotsmovi Store, Secakuku Store, Circle M, Hopi Health Care Center, Polacca Community Building, Keams Canyon Store and Hopi Jr/Sr High School.
Mentzer thanked everyone who contributed to the food drive, but he particularly was thankful to Hopi High School Athletic Director Jeff Lambert for coordinating a Meet the Bruins Night in November where they asked fans to bring canned goods rather than pay an admission fee.
“We raise more from this than any other single event. We received a great deal of food from that, so I’m grateful,” he said.