Anneke Ivans and Kahana Pietsch were two 2016 graduating Orcas High School seniors who focused on the Orcas Island Food Bank for their senior projects – one very traditionally, the other very imaginatively.

 Anneke started volunteering at the Food Bank in March and, though nervous at the start, became inspired by people thanking her and shaking her hand in gratitude. She “learned the names of people coming in every week, saw familiar faces, and reconnected with people from my past,” she remembers. For her senior project, she wanted to spread word of the mission of the Food Bank to other students in order to encourage them to volunteer in the future. One way she did that was to stage a food drive at school where she collected 590 pounds of food items for the Food Bank – a very generous and successful senior project.

 Kahana, while working part time at Island Thyme, was looking for a project that would tie in with giving back to the community. “ I noticed that small batches of soap pieces were being set aside and not re-used or sold,” he said. These were relatively sizeable pieces about 3”x 3” and a half inch thick. He realized that clients of the Food Bank might like them, so he packed up about 20 pounds of the pieces (with Island Thyme’s blessing, of course) and delivered them to the Orcas Island Food Bank where they are now offered on the pick-two shelf. Kahana has since delivered a second batch and is arranging for deliveries to happen regularly after he moves on to college - a thoughtful, ongoing contribution to the Food Bank.

 It’s young adults like Anneke and Kahana that remind us that community service isn’t just for those who have a little time on their hands and want to give back. It’s also a way for our youth to help those in need and do a little something to make their lives better, even is there’s homework to be done.

High School Seniors Give Back