De La Salle students donate $16,342 to Monument Crisis Center

De La Salle students donate $16,342 to Monument Crisis Center with record-breaking Cereal Drive

Concord, CA On Thursday, seven De La Salle students presented Monument Crisis Center Executive Director Sandra Scherer with a check for $16,342. The donations came from the 20th annual De La Salle High Cereal Drive.

“We were happy that we surpassed our goal because now, more than ever, the need for cereal for the Monument Crisis Center is twice as high,” said senior Luke Anderson. “For every one that donated to this year’s Cereal Drive, thank you for keeping the tradition alive and for being very generous during a very hard time.” Anderson was joined by JT Baird, Kason Pelz, Fernando Campos, Leo Villanueva, Matthew Fong and Vincent Castillo in presenting the check to the Center.

Every year, De La Salle’s goal is to donate 3,000 boxes of cereal. This year, through the online donation platform, facilitated by a partnership with Para Ti Global, De La Salle received $13,342 from 316 individual donations. And for the first time in cereal drive history, the school created an online auction, receiving $2,700 through the bidding process. Anderson, co-founder of Para Ti Global, is a member of the Service Leadership class and served as the 2020 Cereal Drive Chair.

Most successful cereal drive in school history

With the donation of more than $16,000 and with the food bank discount,  De La Salle’s donation will allow the Monument Crisis Center to purchase more than 5,000 boxes of cereal for families in need. The De La Salle Service Leadership students and Monument Crisis Center thank everyone in the De La Salle community that contributed to the most successful cereal drive in school history.

“This relationship between the Monument Crisis Center and De La Salle is incredibly important for all sides of the community. The students begin to understand just how much they can do to help their community and they are making an incredible difference in the lives of the students we serve,” said Scherer. “To have De La Salle pivot to an online fundraiser so that we could purchase the cereal on a month-to-month basis is an incredible gift.” 

In addition to working with the Monument Crisis Center, De La Salle has also partnered with St. David’s Pantry in Richmond and the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano in previous years.

The challenge of food insecurity

The Service Leadership class under the direction of Andrew and Dr. Elizabeth Berkes coordinated the drive. It directed the creation of the website, and coordinated a social media campaign. The De La Salle students were also helped in gaining understanding of the challenge of food insecurity in Contra Costa County and around the country.

“There are more than 18 million kids who are facing hunger in America this year. That number is just way too high,” said senior Kason Pelz. “Not everyone is as fortunate as us and has the resources that we have. That’s why we do the Cereal Drive because people need our help.”

The De La Salle Cereal Drive was founded 20 years ago by Viki Acquistapace. The biology teacher has been the spokesperson and chief promoter of the drive since it started. The Cereal Drive is just one part of a school-wide Service Learning initiative. De La Salle seeks to challenge its students to serve others, especially the poor, and to deepen a sense of responsibility for humanity’s future.

Anderson co-founded Para Ti Global with his sister and Carondelet alumna Sophia Anderson. Its mission is to ensure that children everywhere, regardless of financial status, upbringing, background or race have the opportunity to learn and grow through quality education and proper nutrition.

At De La Salle, the Cereal Drive connects with multiple classes as part of the overall Service Learning initiative of the school. In Religious Studies, the Lasallian Core Principle of Concern for the Poor and Social Justice is connected to the Cereal Drive. In Science they look at the various nutrients in cereals and in the past have tested for the presence of genetically modified crops. In multiple other courses, the school looks at the prevalence of food deserts and the connection between obesity and hunger in the United States.