Drive-thru turkey trot helps Norwalk food pantry

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Eileen Osuna

Students volunteered for this year’s Turkey Trot drive-thru event, All volunteers wore masks and gloves to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Nov. 20, 2020

Eileen Osuna, Staff Writer

Cerritos College held their annual Turkey Trot, which was done as a drive-thru food drive this year, to collect canned foods for the Norwalk food pantry.

Ni Bueno, health education department chair, said they collected a total of 1,086 food items, of which the Child Development Center collected and donated 599 food items.

The event is typically a fundraiser and collection of food items accompanied by a race in which participants such as faculty and staff, students and members of the community, run or walk around the college campus. However, due to COVID-19 none of these events were held this year.

“We’re trying to make this as contactless as possible, so students who want to get extra credit will scan a QR code and fill out a Google form online,” said Bueno, “We’ll make sure that their instructors know that they donated.”

Bueno has been organizing the event for 20 years and, although she was upset that they couldn’t do their usual activities, she still wanted to find a way to continue with the event.

Once Bueno got the okay from the school to proceed with the event, she reached out to the Norwalk City Council and spoke with one of the council members.

“He told me they couldn’t keep enough food in the food pantry, that they had just stocked it with like $4,000 worth of food and it was gone,” Bueno said, “They really look forward to our donations every single year.”

Furthermore, there were several Cerritos College students at the Turkey Trot who volunteered and offered their time to assist with the event.

19-year-old Kelly Catri said she volunteered because she wanted to get out and get involved in something at school so that she can add it to her college applications.

“I didn’t really have much to do at home. I actually wanted to help out with the food distribution, but I missed out so I wanted to help out with this one,” Catri said.

Meanwhile, Parker Haskell, 19, said he decided to volunteer because he wanted to get involved with the Cerritos College activities.

“This is my freshman year and I’m on the baseball team, so I’ve been trying to get involved in as many things as possible,” he said, “This was an opportunity for extra credit and also as well just to get back on campus since everything [with COVID-19].”

Lastly, 24-year-old Joseph Koon said he decided to volunteer for the event after hearing about it through the student government cabinet, or ASCC.

Overall, the Norwalk food pantry is always collecting food items such as instant noodles, hamburger helper, mashed potatoes, rice and beans, as well as personal care items like shampoo, laundry detergent and feminine products amongst other things.

For more information on the Norwalk food pantry or ways to donate, please visit their website.