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Rifle Middle School support community with food drive

Rifle Middle School support community with food drive


Rifle Middle School students marched out of their school on Thursday afternoon like a colony of working ants, each carrying a hefty box of hope for their community.

Piling over 35 boxes of food collected for Lift-UP, the Rifle Middle School PALS program takes pride in serving not only their school, but their community as well.

PALS stands for Providing Assistance, Leadership, and Service, and this year boasts over 20 students. The students publicize and organize the food drive, and then every afternoon for two weeks, the students collect the donated items from each classroom. The final delivery was made Thursday, November 16, just before Thanksgiving break.

“The PALS program is basically a school program that supports the school and basic needs like filling the supply rooms and doing projects like murals on the windows, Totes for Hope and the food drive,” explained RMS 8th grader Angel Garza.

In addition to running the food drive, PALS raise money through concessions, help new students who come in and give them tours around the school, put up the flag, hold the doors open and generally help with culture and climate at Rifle Middle School.

Of the nearly 1,000 items collected for this year’s drive, ramen was by far the most popular, explained Garza.

For both Garza and his classmate Jarely Rodriguez, being part of a service organization like PALS speaks to them.

“I’m really proud to be a part of PALS because I know that this group does the food drive and once upon a time me and my family depended on the food drive,” explained Rodriguez. 

Jarely sees a career of service in her future.

“My Mom always told us, you have to work hard and get where you want. Don't give up. I've always wanted to be a immigration lawyer, and I've always told my mom, I'm going to help you. That's just my dream.”

Angel explained that he has committed to being more helpful, and that is something that has come recently.

“I was always a trouble-student in elementary school,” he explained. “I’ve changed. I’m always looking to help people. I try to help my teachers. I sometimes stay after school to clean up and help and (the food drive) helps the community.”

The group is sponsored by RMS Dean of Students Kelly D’Avella.

“PALS is an opportunity for students to experience leadership opportunities at RMS and learn how to build relationships within teams, define identities, and achieve tasks effectively.  It also provides a chance to learn and display effective communication and interpersonal skills.  Students learn about Character traits and organizational and communication skills and experience leadership opportunities through volunteering, fundraising, and helping at the school.”

This year the students at Rifle Middle School, led by the RMS PALS collected 36 boxes of food - nearly 1,000 items - for LIFT-UP - a feat that both Angel and Jarely are proud of.

“It’s nice to help families in need. If they're not as fortunate to have what we have, be able to put food on the table every day, it's great to help them out - help the community, help people in need,” said Angel.