COSTA MESA — A couple boys stood inside a U-Haul truck handing down packed brown bags to an assembly line of their peers all wearing the same navy, white and khaki uniforms.
"Careful, this has glass in it. Canned good. Juice," said 13-year-old Michail Villani, announcing each bag's contents before handing them down.
Eighth-grade students Thursday afternoon at Carden Hall unloaded a truck — the first of two — full of nonperishable food and personal hygiene items the school donated to the Share Our Selves (SOS).
"It feels good," said Emily Goltz, 13. "You know that you're helping your community."
Carden Hall, a private pre-K to eighth-grade school in Newport Beach, puts on SOS' largest food drive of the year in time for the holiday rush, said Vanessa Ontiveros, SOS' facilities manager.
The food donated will go toward packing 1,500 Thanksgiving bags that the Costa Mesa-based nonprofit will then give away during the three days prior to the holiday, said Elizabeth Evans, SOS' marketing and communications manager.
SOS also packs around 300 food bags Monday through Friday to help residents supplement their groceries, Evans said.
"We have seen a decrease in the donations, so this really does mean a lot," she said.
The food drive in an annual Carden event goes back some 20 years, said Jody Loughlin, the school's purchaser and event coordinator.
Giving is taught from day one at Carden and weaved into the curriculum, said eighth-grade teacher Mary Barnes.
It was the eighth-grade class who was charged with not only informing all the other students about the drive, but getting them inspired, said Dunay Bach, 13.
"We just talk about how it's giving from the heart," Emily said, "and helping the less fortunate."