Nikki Rowe students give back to McAllen community with Thanksgiving food drive

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Junior class President Samantha Torres holds up a sign for the Student Council’s food drive on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, at James Nikki Rowe High School. (Omar Zapata | The Monitor)

The James Nikki Rowe High School Student Council held its second annual food drive last Saturday giving community members boxes full of Thanksgiving sides, hoping it becomes an annual tradition for future generations.

Student Council President and Senior Emilian Sosa said the student government gave out about 50 boxes filled with Thanksgiving sides at Nikki Rowe High School. He said, influenced by other school’s food drives, the goal is to be a resource for the community.

“The goal here is that nobody is left alone,” Sosa said. “It allows those families to have something if they’re not able to have it … It is very important for them and for us as well because it helps us build that relationship with the community.”

Senior class Secretary Nayelie Cavazos is about to give one of 50 donation boxes during the Student Council’s Thanksgiving meal pick-up food drive Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023, at James Nikki Rowe High School. (Omar Zapata | The Monitor)

With the help of the Student Council Advisor Sabrina Bazan, in just about an hour, all the donation boxes were handed out to residents of the community.

Carlos Guerra, vice president and senior, said this year’s Thanksgiving food drive was bigger than last year.

Guerra said his top priority is giving back to the community as much as possible, especially to people who are low income.

“I’ve experienced that, like I’ve been low income,” Guerra said.”I’m first generation, like I know how that’s like living paycheck (to paycheck) and if there’s someone like out there to help stay on their feet and then that’s my priority mission.”

Junior class President Samantha Torres said the donations come from school clubs and organizations.

“A lot of people love to help us out and it’s just out of the goodness of our heart,” Torres said. “And it just brings a lot of joy to everyone in our community and us, just knowing that we did something impactful for our community.”

Standing in the front of the school with a sign, Torres estimates she got the attention of about 12 cars to pull into the food drive.

“To give back is really important,” she said. “We are very connected to McAllen and the Valley because we’re such a small community and everyone really knows everyone … so knowing that we are bringing joy to other people and just helping other people out is very fulfilling as like a human.”

Hoping to become senior class president next school year, one of Torres’ goals is to keep the Thanksgiving tradition going and also to do more events for the community like food drives.

She encourages other students in the Valley to give back to the community in whatever way possible.

“I encourage everyone to be more like heartfelt and more considerate of other people’s surroundings and backgrounds,” Torres said. “Everyone was brought up differently and if you know if you have it, like nice, some other people might not, so it’s OK to just bring out a helping hand.”