An Egyptian sun beats down against the windows as the troops within take shelter from the blistering heat. They gather around the table before beginning to eat lunch, a lunch promptly smothered in a variety of fast food heats and sauces.
Student Council is collecting small packaged condiments in support of Lindale alumni and U.S. Army National Guard Adam Jackson, who will be stationed in Egypt until the end of the year. The event is being organized by English teacher Denise Yeakley and Student Council sponsor Pamela Price.
“My goal is to help our service men and women any way I can,” Yeakley said. “Collecting condiments seems like a very small gesture, but I know it is greatly appreciated by the troops.”
Students can bring fast food condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salt and pepper and the most valuable, Taco Bell sauce. These condiments will be collected in the foyer of the high school campus and shipped at the end of each month.
“While a bit unusual, the event is fairly wholesome and beneficiary to help soldiers get something that is usually neglected,” senior Tyler Meador said. “The event shows the support and dedication the citizens are willing to show.”
Adam Jackson graduated from Lindale High School in 2010 ,and, after serving his initial four years for the Army National Guard, was deployed to Egypt again. After popular demand from his friends in the guard, Jackson requested Taco Bell sauce from his friends and family in the U.S.
“I’ve known [Jackson’s] family for as long as I can remember,” Price said. “He grew up in my church and I had him in class as a little child. His mother mentioned that he was asking for donations, and I thought it would be a good project for Student Council.”
Lindale will continue to show it’s support throughout the rest of the school year as Student Council attempts to collect enough condiments to send out a box of condiments every month until graduation.
“Being teenagers, some people could feel like they don’t have a way to help, and this is a cool way to help out,“ senior Josie Gradick said. “It shows just how patriotic Lindale can be when we come together and help our troops.”
The condiment drive is a unique opportunity for students to engage with their community and support troops overseas. All donations are gratefully accepted by the Student Council for the remainder of the school year.
“Lindale is a tight-knit community that has always been proud to back and support those who protect the civilian population, whether it be military members or police officers,” senior Ashlynn Beard said. “I feel like this event displays the true spirit of Lindale and other small towns of wanting to help out in any way they can, whether it be in the form of money, words of encouragement or simply collecting some leftover Taco Bell sauce to bring some flavor and elements of being home to [soldiers] meals.”