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A season for giving at Rifle Middle School

Theresa Hamilton
Rifle Middle School PALS members Marysol Tovar, Juan Osorio and Kellen Johnson package donated food from the RMS food drive. PALS stands for Providing Assistance, Leadership and Service.

In the corner of Rifle Middle School’s front entrance sits a growing mountain of cardboard boxes filled with canned vegetables, soup, breakfast items and cases of ramen noodles.

Every morning, the Rifle Middle School students and RMS PALS  make it grow a little bit bigger.  PALS stands for Providing Assistance, Leadership and Service. These eighth-grade students provide assistance to teachers, students and their school where needed. PALS greet their fellow students every morning and hold the door for them. They raise the flag in the morning, do perimeter door checks of the school and give new students tours of the building to make them feel comfortable in their new environment.

During the Holiday season, it is the PALS program that coordinates the school’s canned food drive.

Last year, RMS donated 4,000 cans of food to LIFT-UP (Life-Inter-Faith-Team-On-Unemployment-Poverty), a nonprofit organization that provides support to Garfield County residents in need. 

This year’s goal is “One more food item than we collected last year,” laughed Kellen Johnson, who has been involved in the program for two years because of his passion for the cause. “My classmate Michael Slappey and I helped last year to provide some extra hands and helped pack the boxes.” 

This is an effort all of the PALS take special pride in.

“It really feels good that we’re hoping people that maybe do not have a lot right now. We want to show other people that we care about them,” explained Juan Osorio. 

Marysol Tovar agreed.

“The food drive is important because it shows other people that there are people out there trying to help them like no matter what and they’re not alone. We’re trying to help them with whatever they need help in. Just like simple things like that.”

Currently, RMS’ canned food drive is at about 1,200 items with a big push coming in the next week. The food drive ends on December 12. They continue to seek items such as canned tuna, chicken, chili, soup, fruit; dried items such as pasta, oatmeal and cereal and staples such as peanut butter, Bisquick, and jelly. Lift-up will pick up the school-wide donation on the afternoon of Dec. 12.


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