COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - For some it may be hard to believe, but according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, millions of teenagers across the country abuse substances.
Donating a few cans of food seems like a small act, but Richards Middle School 7th grader Christin Walls says it can mean a warm meal that someone in need might otherwise not get.
"We don't have to experience that. So, we don't know what they are going through. So, it makes it a little easier on them. It will make it so everyone who stays there, their life will be a little bit easiest," said Walls.
The program is called "I can say no to drugs" and will last throughout the week as a part of Red Ribbon Week. During the canned food drive, students will learn about the dangers of drug abuse while helping others.
"Every morning we say something different about what drugs could do to you, and we are 'canning' drugs or stopping students from doing drugs," said Walls.
Several schools in Muscogee County and throughout the Chattahoochee Valley are collecting canned food to donate to the Valley Rescue Mission in Columbus.
The outreach organization will then use the food to help those in need.
"On Thanksgiving, we'll serve upwards of 1,000 meals. So we'll put the food to use in that way. Christmas will probably be around 600 meals. So, as you can see that takes a lot of cans," said Donna Pearce with Valley Rescue Mission.
Pearce Mission says they will also use the canned food for every day meals and holiday food bags.
Eighth grader Brianna Dixon says the program helps students realize everyone can do something to help the community.
"I'm fourteen. So, I feel like at first I couldn't do much in the community because I'm only one child, but now that I'm donating food and stuff I feel like I am more a part of the community helping," said Dixon.
Officials say the canned food drive will last until October 26th.