Golden Apple: Grand Rapids Students Help Food Shelf With Penny Wars
The food shelf at Second Harvest is getting a little extra help from the kids at Robert J. Elkington Middle School in Grand Rapids.
“We’re working with Second Harvest, and we’re trying to raise food and money for them to deliver the food out to the community and family and students that we’re surrounded by everyday,” says Kaitlyn Lokken, a member of the Robert J. Elkington Student Council.
“We talked about how it keeps it local, how when they donate, they’re providing so many meals for so many hungry people, and there’s people in the building that take advantage of it and it’s helping people near them,” says science teacher Dave Copp, whose class won the penny wars competition last year.
It’s grade vs. grade in this game of penny wars, and the prize is pretty sweet.
“Whoever raises the most, they get a party, so then if they want to have the party, then they raise money for us,” says Jayci Fothergill, another member of the student council.
This game of penny wars comes at a significant time, as it’s currently food share month in Minnesota. That means anything the kids collect will be matched.
“It’s to help people fill the shelves so people everywhere can get the food that they need, so that’s partly why we’re doing penny wars and the food drive in March,” says Lauren Barsness, another student council member.
Even though March is food share month, the student council has actually been working with Second Harvest since early February both in and out of the classroom.
“We went to Second Harvest and we packaged food for the people to be spread to the public,” says student council member Alexis O’Rourke.
“We packaged cereal, onions and we sorted green beans. So we did that and we volunteered there for a few hours,” adds Barsness.
The buckets will be counted tomorrow, and then the penny wars champs will be crowned. This is actually the 2nd year the Robert J. Elkington student council has worked with Second Harvest. Last year, they raised more than $5,000 for the food shelf. This year, they’re hoping to beat that amount.
“We’re watching the kids grow into leaders in the community – taking an active role in helping out people around them and seeing where their money goes and keeping it local, and seeing what kind of effect it can have,” says Copp.
Working with Second Harvest may just become a tradition at Robert J. Elkington.
“I think next year, we’re probably going to do this again because it’s such a fun experience to do everything that we’re doing, so I think that the 6th graders that might join student council next year, and the 7th graders that are going to be coming in and the 8th graders are going to really like doing this another year,” says Lokken.
The food shelf in Grand Rapids helps more than 2,000 people each month.