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Since its founding in the 1980s, San Mateo High School students have participated in our nationally recognized annual canned food drive. Each year our student body gathers as a whole to work towards the common goal of making sure that no one in San Mateo County goes hungry during the holiday season.

At San Mateo High School, we pride ourselves in having the most ethnically and economically diverse student population in the district, and it is our diversity that makes our drive even more powerful. Hunger is one of the largest epidemics in the San Francisco Bay Area. 30-40% of San Mateo County residents are affected by food insecurity, even more in recent years in light of the pandemic. There are students within our own bearcat family that are affected by hunger. Our motivation to help alleviate food insecurity is more than a good cause: it’s personal.

For 3 weeks every fall, San Mateo students spent numerous hours of their own time standing outside of grocery stores throughout the Peninsula asking for both canned goods and monetary donations. Steadfast in our purpose, we continue to collect, rain, or shine, knowing that our canned food drive is helping thousands of our neighbors enjoy their holiday season without the worry of where their food is going to come from.

Our canned food drive has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for holding The World’s Largest Food Drive in 2005, and each year, we hope to continue our legacy of excellence by collecting as much food as possible through the help of generous donations from people all over the Bay Area.

This year with the pandemic and COVID safety, we have pivoted our typical canned food collection to mainly online monetary donations but also in person items. We are still working with the Samaritan House and Second Harvest Food Bank to donate goods and money. 

Our holiday drive can help bring change to our community and it will provide those in need with the reassurance that there are people who care and are willing to help.