RCHS’s S.O.S. hosts a backpack program and annual Thanksgiving food drive


Photo Credit: Shareen Siddiqui

Ms. Kaylene Barker stands in front of a food storage closet proudly showing the donated food for the families in need.

Rancho Cucamonga High School’s Support Our Students (S.O.S.) Program assists RCHS students and families in need. Students can donate supplies like hygiene products, toiletries, feminine products, non-perishable food, and more to these students and their families. The students remain confidential. 

“A lot of kids on our program don’t have access to normal things we have access to like hygiene products or food is really hard for them to get,” Ms. Kayla Peters said.

RCHS has had its S.O.S. program to support its students and community for over seven years. Many students come from various difficult situations and environments, and S.O.S. provides a way to help them get the things they need, via a confidential backpack provided to the students by the program.

“They bring their backpacks back empty so we can fill them up next week,” Ms. Kaylene Barker said.

The RCHS community can place their donations in the box located in the RCHS Administration Office by Peter’s desk or go to the girl’s locker room to Barker’s office. Anybody in the Rancho Cucamonga community, including students, parents, and community members, can donate to S.O.S.

“[Donators] can take it upfront to the top office. Ms. Kayla will take care of it up there, or they can bring it to the locker rooms to me anytime,” Barker said.

According to Barker, anybody can donate to the cause. Students, citizens, and churches. They can donate anything, it just cannot be in glass or contain glass.

“We try to have a whole dinner vegetables, fruit. Nothing perishable, only canned and boxed stuff,” Barker said.

S.O.S. also has a Thanksgiving program. Some classes at RCHS have volunteered to sign up for the opportunity to donate to a specific family for Thanksgiving. By signing up, the class is assigned to the anonymous family, and the class receives a list of Thanksgiving goodies to donate.

“Every year we do a Thanksgiving food drive,” Peters said. “I reach out to our staff and then classrooms are able to pick up a family or sponsor a family. So then each class will donate a Thanksgiving dinner to a family, and it’s all anonymous.” 

Common things to donate during Thanksgiving include cranberry sauce, pie crust, and instant mashed potatoes. Students can also donate these items to the designated boxes.

“The donations give them dinners and food for the day,” Peters said. “Also socks and jackets because during the winter times. Some of those kids don’t have access to those so it’s very important to donate to them.” 

The RCHS community is welcome to donate anything they can for these families in the S.O.S. Program.