A new service club has formed at East Feliciana High School, with student members already proving they want to serve their communities.

The Youth Volunteer Corps has 20 student members, and prior to Thanksgiving, the teens collected canned goods for the Helping in His Name Food Pantry in Jackson.

The group collected 421 pounds of food, then sorted and packed the canned goods and nonperishable food items into holiday food boxes to give to clients — hungry families in the Jackson area — for Christmas.

Sponsors of the Youth Volunteer Corps are three second-year teachers from Teach for America — Sarah Hayes and Kristen Smith, both from Illinois, and Anne Marie Martin, from South Carolina.

Smith arranged for the club, along with members of the Student Government Association at EFHS, to work at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank on Nov. 30.

“The students were excited to discover they could work and have fun at the same time, all while helping others,” Smith said.

The club toured the GBR Food Bank’s warehouse and helped pack boxes with over 4,600 pounds of food to be distributed during the holidays.

“This was such a great experience for the students because it was the first time they had a chance to work at a large nonprofit and to learn how important this service is to many communities,” said Smith.

“While working at the food bank, I learned about hunger and how each and every day the volunteers there and their partnering agencies are helping individuals and families in need,” Youth Corps student Bri’Anna Dunn said. “Our visit to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank gave me a great outlook on how giving back can change a person’s life in an instant.”

Smith said as sponsors of the club, she and the other teachers are looking forward to fully implementing Principal Curt Greene’s vision of creating more learning opportunities for students by encouraging them to be active and engaged citizens who are aware of issues impacting their own communities.