Students Concerned for the Needy, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School


A SERVICE CLUB OF SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD HIGH SCHOOL
Scotch Plains, NJ
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scn history

Students Concerned for the Needy was founded in 1991. It developed out of a discussion in an English class regarding going the extra mile to help those in need. Several students challenged English teacher Bob Stevens to allow them to do a class project that would help others less fortunate than themselves. The class decided to sponsor a child through Children International. Individual students each donated one dollar a month and the class “adopted” Divina, a 5-year-old girl from the Philippines. The monies donated provided food, clothing, medical care and education. Other English classes heard of the project and wanted to do the same and within two weeks, two other children were sponsored: Julio, a 7 year old boy from the Dominican Republic, and Sabreen, a four year old special needs girl from Israel. She was born with two deformed feet, both of which needed extensive surgery in order for her to walk.

These same students thought that the idea of helping others should be taken school wide. They decided to form a club whose focus would be helping the less fortunate. A club existed in the high school called Street Action whose focus was making sandwiches that would be distributed to the homeless. Mrs. Carol Oakes, a former English teacher and guidance counselor, led this group, and after discussing a combination of Street Action and this new band of students, Students Concerned for the Needy was born. SCN began the 1991-92 school year with a focus on child sponsorship and a food drive. We conducted several fundraisers and donated the money to national well-known charities.

When Hurricane Andrew struck Florida in August of 1992, we began the Disaster Relief arm of SCN. Various fundraisers were conducted to aid in the relief effort. Disaster relief has become a mainstay of SCN activities and saw members fundraise for the earthquake victims of Japan in 1995, Hurricanes Mitch (1998) and Floyd (1999). We partnered with the American Red Cross and offered Disaster Services classes held in the MPR by a Red Cross instructor which allowed students and staff to become “certified volunteers.” A certified volunteer is one who, in any part of the country, may respond to a disaster and volunteer at a Red Cross facility. Certification allows the volunteer to take on more responsibilities than an uncertified volunteer may be allowed to do.

Our first school wide food drive saw a total donation of 435 items. Since that time, new projects and programs have been added every year. Many of these projects have become annual events, some of which are now staples in the SPFHS high school culture such as the Christmas Food drive homeroom competition started in 1992 (for a complete list of our annual events, see our Projects and Programs page). This event has grown to a point where the club has collected over 3500 items per year and outside agencies have come to rely on this project to help stock their shelves during the winter months.

The year 1994 was a turning point for SCN. Instead of focusing on helping others “anywhere on the planet,” we decided to focus more on the central New Jersey region and Union County in particular. With an ambitious officer team, three major projects were added that have become annual events: the shoe drive is held every autumn; the annual Candy Gram Fundraiser in December and the 30 Hour Famine has become our major February project. These projects have increased in scope and participants over the years and the 30 Hour Famine gave birth to the biannual Hunger Banquet.

Our Feeding the Homeless project began in 1999. Students regularly attend the Yes, We Care Soup Kitchen in Clarke on Monday nights and the Temple Emmanuel Feeding Program in Westfield on Tuesday nights.

When America was attacked on September 11, 2001, SCN responded. We conducted six separate donation drives over a two month period to collect needed items for the relief workers who were involved in the recovery efforts at the World Trade Center. We also developed American Pride tee shirts and sweatshirts and raised over $3000 that helped two local families who lost a loved one in the attack. To support our troops engaged in the War on Terror in the Middle East, we sold over 325 auto magnets.

Most recently, SCN established the Family Fund, a series of fundraisers that gather monetary donations to help families in Scotch Plains and Fanwood who are experiencing a hardship. We have been able to help: families devastated by Hurricane Floyd; a family who lost most of their possessions in a house fire; a mother of two small children who was afflicted with Lou Gehrig’s disease; and two families who lost parents.

Canvassing has proven to be a successful project for SCN. Halloween Canvassing has become an annual event since 2002. With the cooperation of local businesses such as Quick Chek, Dunkin Donuts and area supermarkets, SCN members have been able to canvass and raise money for our Family Fund.

Besides our annual events, SCN has often completed short-term projects. We have visited the elderly at nursing homes, conducted baby showers for unwed mothers, participated in community flea markets, and worked with local and national organizations such as the Emmanuel Cancer Foundation and KidsRead.

Practically all of the events SCN has sponsored have been sparked by a student idea for a project or program. Many of them are now annual events. SCN encourages students, staff and community members to submit ideas or proposals for consideration. With a rich history behind us, we look forward to continuing writing the history of helping those in need from our local communities. We invite you to become a part of our history.

 

Angel Tree Prison Fellowship

Salvation Army

Where to Donate


Hunger Banquet 2009 Shoe Drive 2009 Pajama Drive 2009 SCN Prom Dress Drive 2012


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