Student Senate Organizes Holiday Can Drive

The two-day event brought in more than 1600 dollars worth of donations for the City High and Iowa City communities.


Matisse Arnone

Student Senate members load cans to be donated to the community food pantry

Matisse Arnone

On one cold weekend in December, the senior class Co-Presidents Mary Cate Pugh and Ari Collins could be found accepting donations of canned goods inside the North Dodge HyVee. Other student volunteers could be found doing the same at 1st Ave. Hyvee. Although there wasn’t a student senate Can Drive held the last couple of years, club cosponsor Mrs. Gibbens explained that it has long been a tradition at City High.

“As long as I’ve been doing Student Senate for the last 20 years we’ve been doing a can drive because there’s been a need in the community,” Gibbens said.

The can drive was planned for December in hopes of giving families extra support around the holiday season. It was held for multiple days at multiple locations so that Student Senate would be able to maximize the number of goods collected. Class co-president Mary Cate Pugh ‘23 said that when figuring out where to donate the items, it was decided to split them up between the Iowa City and City High communities by working with IJAG and the existing food pantry that they stock.

“We decided a while ago that we wanted to [donate to] the crisis center just because it’s a very one-stop shop to reach a lot of people, especially around the holidays,”  Pugh explained. “IJAG reached out to us, and we were able to donate some of the items to them as well.”

At first, the weekend can drive did not get a ton of traction among student volunteers, but as class copresident, Ari Collins ‘23 explained, it did not take a lot of convincing for people to see the importance of participating in this act of community service.

“Once we brought it up at the meetings and talked to people and explained what it was for we had plenty of volunteers,” Collins said. “I think people care about the community, especially when they heard it was helping City High students.”

In addition to donations of canned goods, personal hygiene, and cleaning supplies, student volunteers also accepted cash donations. In total over the two-day can drive over 1,650 dollars was donated to be used by the community food pantry. Mrs. Gibbens thinks that there is an unquantifiable benefit that students can take away from giving back to their peers who need support.

“I think it helps students give back to the community and realize that there are those less fortunate who depend on services and who need assistance at certain times,” Gibbens said. “It is something that lets students know that people are watching out and looking out for them.”

Pugh hopes that the lessons learned from giving back to the community and helping out a fellow classmate can be translated into other aspects of students’ everyday lives.

“I think it’s really important for students to be able to give back. We have time. It’s very easy to sit there at a booth and ask for donations, and it made such a huge difference to a lot of people,” Pugh said.