A hallway at Bluffton High School is lined with food donations collected over two weeks. SUBMITTED

Knowing that local families have struggled to keep food on the table during the pandemic, Bluffton High School’s Student Council launched a food drive in January.

The student council had hosted food drives in the past but was blown away with the donations this year. Over the course of about two weeks, the students collected more than 10,000 items, including everything from baby food to canned vegetables to dog treats.

“Our goal was to bring in 2,000 items,” said Student Body President Tyler Shrewsbury.

The Bluffton High senior asked for donations for the food drive on the Nextdoor app. Within just a few hours, he said, 20 people responded that they wanted to donate groceries or money. Shrewsbury was able to bring in 2,000 items on the first day. He has collected at least 6,000 more items since.

The high school’s guidance department has identified local residents in need and distributed items to more than 70 families so far.

Since the food drive has ended and donations keep coming in, Shrewsbury, 18, is now hoping to set up a nonprofit organization so he can continue helping families. He has started a GoFundMe page to raise the money needed to start the organization, which he thinks will cost less than $500. Any additional money he collects will go toward purchasing more items for families in need.

“It’s important to help the people in need because one day you may be in their shoes,” Shrewsbury said. “Treat others how you want to be treated. You have no idea why the people you are helping need that help.”

After graduation later this year, Shrewsbury plans to study either aerospace or electrical engineering in college. He hopes to one day work for either Boeing or Gulfstream.

For more information on Shrewsbury’s project or to make a donation, visit gofund.me/193836e9. 

Amy Coyne Bredeson of Bluffton is a freelance writer, a mother of two and a volunteer with the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.