Opinions: A Paige from her book: Don’t be a bystander

Ever since the end of last school year, every conversation I have had with my friend Shovik Bandyopadhyay is about one thing: the canned food drive. Shovik wasn’t going to let the five months leading up to the canned food drive fly by.

Most people don’t start thinking about the canned food drive until around October, but Shovik already began planning this year’s canned food drive in May.

Throughout the summer Shovik held tons of events at Schnucks in which he personally sat outside asking people for donations and cans. Overall, Shovik spent 43 hours just at Schnucks. He also went to neighborhoods and handed out flyers about the canned food drive. At the beginning of this school year, Shovik organized a candy sale for the Senior class in order to bring in more money for cans.

Although Shovik was one of the chairs of the canned food drive this year, he did not receive that position until October. He just took on the challenge of the canned food drive because he wanted this year’s canned food drive to be a success.

Organizing efforts to bring in a lot of cans was the right thing to do, according to Shovik. He thought that if he put forth the effort and spread the word, he could deliver 10,000 cans.

Six different food pantries rely on EHS’ donation of those cans. Almost a thousand mouths need that food to make it through the cold months. That is half the number of people attending our school.

Eureka’s goal for the canned food drive this year was 40,000 cans. Shovik’s personal goal would bring in a fourth of the total.

I’ve been blown away by all the work he has put into this year’s canned food drive. I assumed everyone else would be too, but I am shocked at what I was hearing in the hallways last Friday.

Eureka came close to 40,000 cans, but fell a few thousand cans short. Shovik reached his goal of 10,000 cans and was proud of his hard work.

I overheard a small group of juniors say the reason Eureka’s goal was not reached was because of Shovik. They claimed people thought he was bringing in so many cans so then they could slack and not bring as many in, thus making it Shovik’s fault.

The audacity of this claim amazes me.

Shovik worked hard. If anything, his standard should have motivated people to work just as hard as he. If people choose to stand on the sidelines and watch this canned food drive whiz past them, they are to blame for our 5,000+ can shortfall.

The senior class met the amount of cans Shovik brought in. Out of the school’s total of about 38,000 cans, the senior class brought in about 20,000, according to StuCo.

The problem wasn’t that people felt Shovik was bringing in too many cans, but rather underclassmen felt that the seniors would pick up their slack.

People are never satisfied. If Shovik would have done less, people would have called him lazy. Shovik worked hard, so others didn’t.

If everyone would have brought about 20 cans, the schools goal would have been easily reached.  This ratio is not unreasonable. I went to Sam’s and bought 25 cans for around $20. It was a quick trip, and I hardly missed the money I spent on the can’s.

Shovik should feel proud of his major contribution towards this year’s canned food drive and the 110 hours of work he put in for the canned food drive alone. Rather than complaining about being 5,000 cans short of our goal, everyone should use him as an example for next year. I hope EHS doesn’t let this opportunity to substantially help thousands of community members pass by without standing up and pitching in.

Together we can raise 40,000 cans. After all, it’s not about the number of cans but the people we are helping with those cans.