San Mateo High School Canned Food Drive!

SMHS_Food Drive (2)As of Monday, November 30, 2015, the students at have collected 150,000 pounds of food! The food drive is a storied part of San Mateo High’s history. In 2005, students set a world record by collecting more than 300,0000 pounds of food.

On Friday, November 20, 2015, San Mateo High School was honored as Outstanding Philanthropic Youth Organization at this year’s Silicon Valley Philanthropy Day. San Mateo High School was nominated for this award by Samaritan House and Second Harvest Food Bank to honor their that dates back to the early 1980’s when the students started collecting about 20,000 pounds of food on an annual basis.

Their drive soon achieved phenomenal expectations and is now nationally recognized as one of the largest in the country. In 2005 San Mateo High was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for holding the World’s Largest Food Drive over a two week period, even breaking the record twice!

Every holiday season, the focus of the High School’s Leadership Class becomes the community, and student leaders galvanize their school spirit into action. For three weeks every fall, the 1,400 plus students who attend San Mateo High School raise awareness of hunger in the local community, and volunteer their time to help raise money and food for San Mateo County’s low-income families.

The students of San Mateo High School have received numerous awards and community recognition from Samaritan House, Second Harvest Food Bank, the Jefferson Awards,, San Mateo County School Board, and the City of San Mateo Chamber of Commerce among others.  The success of their efforts has been widely publicized in the local media, including local newspapers and television stations.

The San Mateo High School Bearcat Spirit is incredibly powerful!  Year after year, the students put in a world class effort on behalf of hungry families in need across the Bay Area.  We are so pleased to celebrate their extraordinary spirit of generosity at this year’s Silicon Valley Philanthropy Day!

Check this out!

The bearcats get licious in this promo for the magical San Mateo High School canned food drive.


Lyrics by Michelle & Laura Saxton and Jessica Churchill.

Sung by Jessica Churchill with backup by Michelle Saxton and Alex Ewald.

Extra solo sung by Alex Ewald.

2014 Holiday Program Highlights

With the help of our generous volunteers & donors we were able to create a brighter holiday for the 1,750 children who received new toys, coats and books, and over 1,200 households that received food.


Food Distributions: Our special food distributions during November & December provided groceries – such as fresh fruits & veggies, canned goods, hams and turkeys to over 1,200 families.






Toy Shoppe:  1,750 very happy children and their parents picked out three to five toys for each child, a book and a coat. Toys included things like Legos, dolls, games, educational toys, gift cards and sporting equipment. Extra special thanks for the donated books from Barnes and Noble! Books also were donated from school groups, service clubs, and individual donors from around the community.



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Family Sharing Program: 110 families more than 30 seniors were supported this year through our Family Sharing Program (FSP). FSP allows donors to give in a more personal way by selecting a specific family to sponsor. Donors included individuals, families, church and civic groups, businesses and schools.




12-8-2014 Wee Care CraftingWee Care Program: Over twenty  elementary and middle schools participated in our Wee Care Program. Parents, teachers and volunteers teach students about the needs of the community. They create cheerful decorations and organize food, clothing and toys drives that are eventually distributed to the Samaritan House clients.





All of this was made possible with the caring and sharing of so many donors in our community and the 1,000 volunteers who came together to hand out toys, food, and help clients pick warm coats. Thank you to all those who support our holiday program every year!


Serra High School Padres Bring Christmas Cheer through the Adopt-a-Family Program


Every year, Samaritan House’s Adopt-a-Family program connects individuals, corporations, and community groups with local, low-income families for the holiday season. This year we were pleased to work with students and teachers at Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, connecting the group with 10 client families for the holidays as they purchases needed clothing, food, and toys for them.

Thank you to by Antonia Ehlers, Communications Manager at Serra High School, for sharing the following blog post with us!


Every December, twinkling lights transform neighborhoods, halls are decked and Christmas trees are adorned with ornaments. Excitement fills the air, as children and adults look forward to the traditional comforts of the Christmas season. However, not all families are able to enjoy the busy weeks leading up to Christmas. Money is tight. Parents are between jobs. Presents are few.

That’s why the Samaritan House Adopt-a-Family Program is so important – it supports families in need while showing them that the local community cares. This week, Serra students brought Christmas cheer to 10 San Mateo families.

“The entire school was involved,” noted Campus Ministry Christian Service Director Jackie Schroeder. “Upper division student government students collected gift cards, and lower division student government students collected cans. Campus Ministry organized the Kmart shopping trip, and many other students helped with food sorting and deliveries. It was a school-wide event.”

This year, Samaritan House’s Adopt-a-Family Program provided gifts, food and clothing to 190 local families during the holidays.

“We are so glad that the Serra boys partner with us to provide this wonderful holiday experience for the less fortunate in our community,” said Samaritan House Client Services Manager Robin Fischer.

Each year, Samaritan House assists more than 12,000 low-income residents in San Mateo County. The organization provides food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, worker resources and counseling services – all free of charge. In addition, Samaritan House volunteers deliver more than 145,000 nutritious meals and 14,000 bags of groceries to people in need.

“All the Serra guys who came together for Adopt-a-Family were really fun to work with,” said senior Alex Adamis. “This was my first year getting involved – it would have been great to start freshman year!”

Senior Ben Kusber agreed, “Adopt-a-Family provides an excellent opportunity to give. Being able to give gifts to those who are underprivileged is a great thing.”

In San Mateo County, one in 10 receives food assistance, and one in six is “food dependent,” meaning that he or she sometimes receives help.

“Adopt-a-Family is a fantastic way to get the entire school involved in a charitable act of giving at Christmastime,” Schroeder said. “The students really have fun with it, especially knowing that they are volunteering their time to families in need. The work involved with making this happen reminds us of the power of giving, and how the ripple effects can be felt by everyone.”