‘Key’ for these Towson High students: helping those in need
By Courtney McGee
Baltimore Sun Media|
Feb 23, 2021 at 6:00 AM
Even in a virtual school setting, Towson High School’s Key Club is living up to the expectations of its Kiwanis roots (the “Key” stands for “Kiwanis Educated Youth”), as this network of young leaders seeks to make a positive impact through volunteerism.
The group has about 45 student members, guided by advisers Sandra Benson, Al Olsen and John Olin. The teens have remained active via Google Meets to research and plan service opportunities.
Key Clubber Linna Zhu, a THS junior, wants to announce a food drive, taking place now through March 6 to benefit the Assistance Center of Towson Churches (ACTC), “to feed our neighbors and help many to get through the remainder of this tough winter.”
Benson recently had explained to Zhu a serious issue that is unfortunately quite common across the country: Food pantries expectedly see a spike in donations during the holidays, but after the new year donations dwindle and people in need find fewer supplies available.
“In this critical time, families are deprived of necessary items. Even in a state that is known for its affluent areas, so many are still in need of basic supplies of food,” Zhu said.
Zhu was moved to learn of instances where families simply can’t afford enough food for all, or where a mother gives away her food to her children, going hungry herself. “These stories break my heart, but I know it’s the reality for many,” she said.
Zhu also has noticed the reduction in places to acquire food, as some shops and restaurants have closed during the pandemic, and store shelves are sometimes stripped of essential staples. She was inspired to help and called upon her peers in the Key Club to organize the food drive.
“I started with a couple of meetings with my advisers, who have told me about ACTC and their influences, then worked to gather interest from my club members. I truly believe that, when united, a little goes a long way,” she said.
They decided to partner with ACTC (actconline.info) because it is a critical support to many in our community, offering prepacked grocery bags every two weeks for anyone in need, lunches and mail pickup for people experiencing homelessness, and limited financial assistance for people facing eviction or utility shut-offs.
The food drive’s wish list includes: breakfast cereals; canned beans, fruits and vegetables; pasta and rice; spaghetti sauce; boxed macaroni and cheese; peanut butter and jelly; canned soups; canned tuna or chicken; and other nonperishables.