Sam Schmidt Turns Shaker into a PORCH Community
Helping those in need of food this fall is as easy as leaving canned goods on your front doorstep, thanks to Shaker Heights High School freshman Sam Schmidt. Sam started a local chapter of PORCH Communities, an all-volunteer, non-profit organization that mobilizes monthly neighborhood food drives to relieve local hunger. The group was originally founded in North Carolina and has steadily grown in size because its concept is easily replicated: a PORCH community founder like Sam reaches out to local food banks/pantries to determine specific food needs and then those needs are communicated to neighbors via flyers/ email along with a pick-up date. On that day, neighbors leave canned goods on their porch/doorstep for pickup by Sam.
Sam will approach his own Malvern neighbors first, and then he hopes other students will volunteer as coordinators in their neighborhoods. "I'm serving as the middleman between the people who donate and the food banks," Sam explains. "If we can get a decent amount of coordinators all around Shaker, then we can start collecting to help people who need it most."
Sam's first pickup will be Saturday, November 18. He'll be collecting for St. Herman's House of Hospitality, a transitional house for men in Ohio City, and Trials for Hope, an organization that delivers food and toiletries to Cleveland's homeless and homebound. "Shaker is such a diverse community with a lot of resources," says Sam. "This is really just about doing the right thing in general."
To learn more, to volunteer or to donate on November 18, email Sam
with your name and address.
Erin Harris Helps Cleveland’s Homeless Stay Warm
Earlier this fall, IB Diploma Programme junior and Cheer captain Erin Harris was thinking of ways that Shaker Cheerleaders could reach out to the community. So she turned to what she knows for inspiration: Cleveland winters are brutally cold.
“Most of us have a couple pairs of mittens and gloves, or we get new coats every year. These are the things many of us take for granted,” Erin says. “When I’ve gone into Cleveland and seen the homeless and their children, it’s so sad to see and know that these kids are born into poverty.”
Cheerleading coach and Athletic Department Administrative Assistant Vikki Long has supported Erin in her efforts. "She loves a challenge and she is the kind of young person that sees the mountain, but figures out what tools she needs to climb it rather than feeling defeated," Ms. Long says. "She has a kind spirit and her idea of wanting to help others in need is a testimony in itself." From November 6-17, Erin will be collecting gently used or new mittens, gloves, hats, coats, scarves, snow pants, boots and any other cold weather gear for children and adults at the High School. Students can drop off these items at the Eli Gallery in the High School. Erin will collect the donations for distribution to local shelters.
Erin says she started thinking more seriously about ways to help after attending ArtWorks, an arts-based job training and college-readiness program, this past summer. “We watched videos on people who struggled to have all the things we take for granted,” she says. “It really opened my eyes.”
Erin will collect cold-weather clothing for both adults and children through the month’s end. She hopes that after a successful clothing drive, she will host drives for other necessities, like feminine hygiene products.
To learn more about donating to Erin's campaign, email Vikki Long.