Vietnam Veterans chapter 968 donated more than 2,500 food items collected by the students at Monterrey Elementary to the Community Kitchen, Monday morning. Pictured from left: Tomas Hernandez, Jimmy Copeland, Frank Carrillo, Leonard Corona, T.J. and grandfather Harry McGraw. (Courtesy photo)
The students of Monterrey Elementary School demonstrated the spirit of the season. “These kids are truly awesome. We could not have done th[auth] is without them. In the last 20 days, they collected (more than) 2,500 food items,” said Frank Carrillo, sergeant of arms of the Vietnam Veterans of America chapter 968.
This is not the first year the students at Monterrey have collected food for the needy. Carrillo said the students have donated food for the past four years. In previous years, the students gathered food for Thanksgiving. This year, the school got a late start, but still managed to collect enough food to fill a trailer and a truck with items such as canned goods and cereal.
All grades contributed and they turned it into a contest with the class that brought in the most food getting treated to a pizza party. This year, Ms. O’Meara’s class won the pizza.
“Me and my wife, Nancy, started giving a lot of things to the needy eight years ago. At first we gave away clothes, and we saw a lot of homeless people in need of food,” Carrillo said.
Carrillo estimates that the children gathered 90 to 95 percent of the food for this year’s donation to the Community Kitchen. “I’ve got nothing but praise for the teachers, the principal and the kids of Monterrey. They deserve recognition for what they have done,” he said.
Mike Wood of American Moving and Storage provided the boxes for the children to fill. “We used to sort through the food, bag it and give it away ourselves. This year we decided to give all the food to the Community Kitchen who provide food to the needy all year long,” said Carrillo.
The Vietnam Veterans also sponsor Broncos youth football, two Roswell High School football players and two RHS band members.
One student said of the group: “The veterans are our role models. They served the country and now they serve the community.”