Thanksgiving is a time to be with family, eat great food, and, of course, be thankful. Helping others should never be overlooked during this season of giving. The kids and staff at Saint Paul Catholic School kept this notion close to heart as they held their 10th annual Families Feeding Families food drive this Friday.
Students from kindergarten up to 8th grade, along with faculty members, stopped classes for a brief time to collect as much food as possible to help feed other families. All of the staff and students formed a giant chain throughout the school, passing food along to one another. There were lots of smiles as the food drive provided a brief break for the students while teaching them a great lesson.
“This food drive really demonstrates the school’s commitment to serving the community,” said McKenna Melich-Herrin, public relations coordinator for the school advisory council. “This is a very hands-on moment for the students. It's important for them to be a part of it to teach them about doing great work for the community.”
This is the tenth year Saint Paul Catholic School has had a tradition of forming the chain of students. The school has been holding the drive itself for the past 15 years, along with other service events. The staff always loves being part of the events, and have enjoyed seeing how much they've grown.
“This is one of my favorite traditions we do for Family Friday,” said Donna Shane, St. Paul’s Kindergarten teacher. “We wanted to get the kids more involved so that's how the chain came to be, so they can get a true meaning on what we are doing this for.”
The interactive experience has been great for the kids. During the event, there were plenty of laughs and smiles throughout the school, bringing everyone closer together.
“As we went along, the kids just wanted to keep doing more and more to help,” Shane said. “They even gave up their recess one day to help process boxes of food. It really builds a community, not just in our school, but within the whole city. It shows even little kids can make a big difference.”
The event goes beyond just giving food. St. Paul wants to make sure families can have meals for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“We want to make sure we have a service event every month,” said Gina Wagenblast, Principal of St. Paul Catholic School. “It feels really great because our school is making a big difference. It's fun to watch the teachers be motivating and give their students a new view on them, making them realize they are more than just their teacher.”
St. Paul has gathered enough food this year to feed more than 225 families. The tradition of Families Feeding Families will not only continue to have an impact on the community, but those students helping it, as well.
“Even though they are having fun they understand the bigger purpose,” Wagenblast said. “We are teaching more than just academics, we are teaching them they can make a difference at such a young age. We all operate as one big family.”