POLACCA, ARIZ.-Hopi High School's National Honor Society has been leading a food drive that has many reservation residents involved and will result in food bags going to the elderly on Nov. 16.
This is the sixth straight year that Hopi High's NHS has held the food drive and each year it has become bigger. Last year, they gave out more than 100 bags. This year, sponsor Thomas Mentzer said they should easily top that.
Boxes for canned food donations have been placed at stores throughout the Hopi Reservation and at Hopi High School.
Mentzer said the NHS charter calls for students to have a community service project, so the NHS students at Hopi High came up with this idea.
Mentzer said this is the most gratifying project that he has been involved with for two reasons. First, the elders who receive the food boxes have a great look of surprise and happiness on their faces because they are stunned that kids would be doing something so caring.
Second, he feels it is also a touching experience for the students and hopes that this volunteer work will carry into their adult lives so that they will make public service part of their lifelong work.
Mentzer said Christmas is a time of giving 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.
The elders are selected by a list the school receives from social services.
Mentzer feels coaches Jeff Lambert, Glenn Haven, Rick Baker and Jaime Roe deserve thanks since their boys and girls basketball teams held a scrimmage in late November where the entry fee was a can of food.
"People were very generous because they didn't bring just one can. They brought bags of food," he said.
Mentzer also feels grateful to Joyce Hamilton and the Hopi Office of Health Services for holding a turkey trot at Hotevilla and charging the runners food donations for their entry fee. Employees from the health services office also donated food.
Mentzer also thanks Angela Tracas and Greg Carlson, managers from Bashas' in Winslow who helped by supplying the bags that will be used for distribution.