LBUSD embraces the spirit of giving this holiday season



Eva Ferguson-Garrood (left) and Luke Bellman (right), who are in Mrs. Wong’s 3rd grade class, help to create Night Time Buddy Bags for a domestic violence shelter in Orange County. The students filled each bag with a handmade blanket, a stuffed animal and a book.

Ellie Ford and Christian Yates

As the holidays approach, the spirit of giving grows within us all.  LBUSD teaches its pupils the importance of giving back in small ways.  Recently, ASB organized a food drive as a competition among staff and the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grade classes. In the end, the senior class won among the students, bringing in 284 pounds of food and a sweet prize of Krispy Kreme Donuts. Seniors, however, were no competition for the staff, who brought in a total of 756 pounds of food.  All things considered, LBUSD united to produce over 1,500 pounds in donations.

The food was donated to the Laguna Food Pantry. This is a nonprofit organization that sorts, organizes and distributes food to those in need around the Laguna Beach area.

“We are so grateful to the hundreds of helpers who help us by writing checks, helping at our facility, collecting food and making monthly PayPal donations to keep our shelves stocked. Please – help us keep up the good work!” said Anne B Belyea, the Executive Director at Laguna Food Pantry.

The organization serves 80 to 100 families and distributes over 4,000 pounds of groceries daily.  The Pantry estimates that those at risk of hunger in Orange County total to about 301,000 people, and approximately half of the food pantry shoppers have children to feed. The foundation aims to diminish hunger in Laguna and surrounding areas. Those who wish to help the nonprofit are welcome, and students may donate or volunteer year-round.

LBHS was not alone in the giving spirit. Top of the World, El Morro and Thurston all held similar drives to support those who are less fortunate.  TMS embraced the spirit of the holidays by giving bikes to the Village of Hope Donation. The students and staff of El Morro and TOW gathered together to spread hope and cheer as well.  El Morro participated in the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Food Drive, the Denim Drive, and a Holiday Blessing Bag Drive.

Meanwhile, the Student Council of TOW made several eye-catching posters and performed a skit at the annual November Flag Assembly.  In the end, TOW’s food drive was very successful. By the end of the drive, they filled seven garbage cans with canned food.

“At TOW, we feel it’s important to teach the concept of ‘paying it forward’ to the local and global community through our various school-wide philanthropic drives.  Donating your time or money to those that are in need creates a sense of pride among students and creates a sense of community on campus. Our goal is for every student to leave us with the belief that they can change the world and have a positive impact on the lives of others,” said Top of the World principal Michael Conlon.

Organized by Spanish teacher Carita Garcia, LBHS is currently hosting a supplies drive for schools in Mexico. There are boxes in teachers’ classrooms that are currently filling up with new and gently used school supplies, backpacks and notebooks.  Tomorrow is the last day to contribute, so please get involved.

In the end, all the schools in LBUSD are united through the spirit of giving by partnering with the local community and organizations. Charities, nonprofits and other organizations provide great ways to help. Regardless of the amount donated or time volunteered, all help is needed and appreciated.  

Additional local charities include the Second Harvest Food Pantry of Orange County (, Pacific Marine Mammal Center (, and the Laguna Beach Canyon Foundation (