One Buc Helps Another Buc

Student volunteers work to keep community fed


FULLY STOCKED: The food pantry is filled to the brim after the Give and Glow food drive in February. Student volunteers Ava Prieditis and Graci Chittenden work to keep it that way.

“One Buc Helps Another Buc.” This simply yet impactful mantra for Bucs Care Food Pantry helps to build safe and quality meals and bathroom bags for hundreds of struggling homes throughout the district. This year’s Give and Glow food drive in February did better than anyone could’ve expected. However, the pantry still faces more demand than supply. So what can we do to support Bucs Care and its cause more adequately? Bucs Care volunteers, seniors Ava Prieditis and Graci Chittenden. Along with long term manager, Counselor Angie Preditis, spoke to the Bucs Blade about the Pantry.


How long have you been involved with the food pantry?

Ava: Since freshman year. My mom runs Bucs Care. I joined because of her, my brother was in it and he’s someone to look up to so I was like, Well, I guess I gotta do it. But yeah, and I’ve done it since. 

Graci: This is my first year.


Why did you join?

Graci: I felt I wasn’t involved enough at school. I was in Green Club, but I never really felt so busy. I feel like since this year I’m really not busy with classes as a senior, I might as well do something that’s going to help other people.


What is helping the food pantry mean to you?

Ava: At the beginning, I wanted to do this because I wanted to show that I help people but then it became more. One day in the summer, I was with my mom. We were bringing bags to families to pick up. I saw them take the bags proving that what we do actually makes an impact, us bagging food for 20 minutes. It’s a simple thing that we can do every day or once a week that has an impact on real families in our community. It’s really amazing that something small I can do now can develop into bigger things later on. Even have more of an impact. I think it’s the impact that really gets me to do it every weekend. 


Are there any specific things that you’ve seen or have noticed throughout your years of pantry that have impacted you?

Ava: I’ve seen kids come in and grab their bags of food if they didn’t grab them the day before. I see their faces light up as they peek in and they’ll say “Oh, I got Cheerios. I got the good granola bars and I got my favorite meals!” The fact that they’re getting food, things that I get regularly because I’m fortunate, the fact that that is what makes their day and even their week. It’s really cool to see and be a part of ensuring the wellness of our community. 

Graci: I would honestly say the same thing, being able to help people with something that is a necessity and that comes easy to so many people. It brings me peace to my mind that I know that people are getting things that they need and it’s actually being done. Out on the streets you see all these homeless people and everyone drives past them. I just like how we’re actually doing stuff to help people in our community get the things that they need.


How has working in the pantry changed your opinions or values and views? 

Ava: It impacted my perspective. Those decisions and ideals are really what change once you see the impact of the work you do. your perspective of what you’re doing changes, especially as a coach, if you’re a coach of a sport you don’t really see how you’re doing your how you’re helping those kids learn the sport better until you see them playing in the game and you suddenly realize that you’re holding an impact. 

Graci: I would say really put into perspective the fact that I need to be more fortunate with what I have. I feel that I take a lot of things for granted like when I pick out something to eat. I sometimes say that we have nothing to eat when I can’t find anything I’m craving in a house full of food, while other kids will take whatever they can get. 


What is needed at the pantry?

Graci and Ava:

  • Canned food 
  • Instant foods; instant potatoes, instant rice, cereal, pasta, mac and cheese. 
  • Toiletries; shampoo, conditioner, feminine products, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant. 
  • Fresh fruits can be donated to student services 

There’s always more things that people need. More needs are posted on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook under Bucs Care Pantry.  


How can others get involved? 

Ava: A lot of people will either come to me or they’ll reach out to my mom through email, which is the best way, and just say you want to get involved, or I want to do more things to help our school. We want to hear that people want to do this, those are the people we need most, especially next year. There’s a lot of seniors that are in the food pantry, so we want the people that strive to help our community and help out our high school students who are in a tough situation. 


Is there any way we could help more? 

Ava: We can create more bins to put in classrooms or in pods just for consistent donating. We can’t take expired food, but bringing in a couple cans from your pantry that you don’t use makes the biggest difference. Bucs care isn’t a club or anything, so spreading knowledge on what we do helps to. 

Graci: Bins in classrooms with advertisements could be held too. The only time people really talk about donating is either for sporting events. They only really advertise it when we really need it. I feel like if we have bins in some of the classrooms and people can bring stuff in at any time and not just when  the school promotes large scale events then we could provide more consistent variety for our community. We need stuff all the time. 

Ava: Drives like the Give and Glow are so important to us because we don’t do regular food donations all the time. They do a food drive once every couple of months, though this year and last year we’ve been trying to do that more. 

Angie Prieditis: We also take cash and check donations that allow our volunteer shoppers to get the essentials that we need in the pantry. These can be brought to the main office or student services, and made out to the  Bucs Care Food Pantry. The proceeds for this go directly to an account meant for providing for families in need. 


Is there a certain amount that you need for each supply? 

Ava: We like to take as much as we can get, we do at least 20 bags a week, then we have eight bags that go into Mr. Lawrence, And we stock the conference rooms in the pods. More than that even, we always want a lot.


Graci: A lot of food that is versatile as well, things that we can use to create different meals and stuff to create snacks, items that you can use for lots of different things. 


More food, More toiletries, More volunteers, and checks made out to the Bucs Care Food Pantry, all help if you’re able. Let’s learn how to support each other throughout our school year and live up to the mantra of one Buc helps another Buc.