Two days before Thanksgiving, one of Unity’s learning groups, the 7/8 Jaguars, took twenty-four boxes of food to the Interfaith Food Pantry. For several weeks leading up to the delivery, students from all the learning groups brought in canned and boxed goods to donate: 263 cans, 44 boxes of things like macaroni, and 32 miscellaneous items such as jars of spices in all. These items were placed in decorated cardboard boxes by the front door.
The boxes were decorated during an extended morning meeting time when the learning groups got together with their buddy classes. Children cut autumn leaves and “hand” turkeys from construction paper, made origami shapes, drew colored patterns directly on the boxes, and generally made the boxes look festive. This was a great bonding time for the different ages as older students helped little ones create the decorations.
On delivery day, the Jaguars carried the loaded boxes onto a school bus for the short ride to the pantry. Once there, the food was taken into the center, and one of the volunteers gave the Jaguars a tour of the facility, which includes a room with shelves stacked with non-perishable food and refrigerators for perishable goods, a kitchen where clients may receive cooking lessons, and a large garden in the back. The garden coordinator spoke about the work she does there.
The Jaguars asked thoughtful questions. One student wanted to know if there are restrictions governing who is allowed to come to the pantry, and as a group, the students were interested to find out that anyone in need can come, that even someone with what seems like a good salary might not have enough money for food if the family’s budget is overwhelmed by paying for cancer treatments or something of that nature. Another student asked how often the cooking classes are held. Still another asked about the big pieces of equipment and what they are used for.
Overall, the food drive was a success as Unity families were able to offer a little comfort and hope to the community at large.