Gabriella Senderov, a senior at Oak Park High School, founded the Cans4Food Club at the school two years ago. Much has been accomplished in that time.
Like its name entails, the club’s goal is to collect bottles and cans and redeem them for money for donation.
At the beginning of her sophomore year, Gabriella wanted to take action, so she gathered a team that held the same ideals and passions. Cans4Food was born.
Gabriella collected bottles and cans from the recycling bins at school during lunch, after school and following football games.
“We had to pile the cans and plastic bottles in my garage. My mom couldn’t even park her car in there,” Gabriella said.
Over time, what was one plastic bottle became 20,000. But, even so, she wanted to contribute more.
With the support of her teachers, she conducted a school-wide canned food drive, which accumulated 1,000 cans in spring of 2017 and then 1,400 in early 2018.
After redeeming the recyclables the first time around, which equated to $500, Gabriella donated the cash and the 1,000 cans of food to the Manna Conejo Valley Food Bank in Thousand Oaks. She made the second donation of $600 from recyclables and 1,400 cans of food Manna on Jan. 8.
“It was an amazing feeling seeing the towers of cans of food in my mom’s mini van. I knew that it was going to feed a lot of people,” Gabriella said. “According to Manna, about 15,000 families in the Conejo Valley struggle to feed their family, and one in four children go to bed hungry.”
Gabriella and the Cans4Food team thank the students for their donations and the teachers who supported the canned food drives. She says she is looking forward to the next one and is hoping for new members and sponsors who are also dedicated to helping the community.
—Acorn staff report