Rossman School Students Help Kids Against Hunger
Rossman School fifth graders not only raised the money to buy 5,000 meals for children in Haiti, they recently volunteered their time to package the food.
The class of 30 students, which is taught by Ariadne Holladay and Todd Valdez, raised more than $1,000 for Kids Against Hunger in February. Students each had a target goal that they reached — or exceeded — on their own time. Kids Against Hunger is a food aid organization with the mission to significantly reduce the number of undernourished children in the United States and around the world.
However, the Rossman School students’ involvement with the organization did not end with their monetary donation. The students spent Thursday morning, March 1, packing bags of food to be shipped to Haiti.
Holladay and Valdez said they wanted their class to have a hands-on experience helping others who are less fortunate. They said it really hit home for the students to think about other children their age whose greatest worries revolve around “am I going to have something to eat.”
The students assembled 756 packages of food, filling 21 large boxes. Each food package contains six servings of a rice and soy casserole that is fortified with 21 essential vitamins and minerals. It’s a nutrient-rich formula that is simple to prepare — requiring to be boiled for only 20 minutes.
A secondary lesson in the project was teamwork. Valdez said it was a good exercise to have “30 students working as a team to create meals.”
The class broke into two groups and formed assembly lines where each student had a task to perform. Starting with an empty bag, students added dehydrated vegetables, soy, a mixture of vitamins and minerals, and rice. The bag was then weighed, sealed and prepared for packing. Students traded jobs during the more than two hours of work to experience the entire process.
“When our class started packing the food that would be sent to Haiti, I realized how lucky I am to choose what I eat and that life is easier for us,” said fifth grader Samer Hajji.
The amount of food packaged by the Rossman students will account for 5,000 meals for children in a mountainous region of northwest Haiti. The amount of food they packaged is enough to feed 14 children for one year.
The experience had a powerful impact on the students.
“It made me stop and think about how lucky I am to be healthy and have tons of people who love me … I am now much more thankful than I was before. I will never forget this life-changing experience,” said fifth grader Chloe Frank.
Classmate Divya Srihari echoed that sentiment. “My Kids Against Hunger experience made me understand how lucky I am to have food. So many kids every day die of starvation. It made me think of how we have food to eat whenever we want, and how we have so many choices.”
The fundraising and volunteer effort by the fifth grade class is part of Rossman School’s commitment to the “Rossman Rules” of kindness, honesty, respect and responsibility. Every class at Rossman School performs a social service project during the school year. This year Holladay and Valdez chose Kids Against Hunger as the recipient of the fifth grade’s goodwill.
Rossman School is an independent, coeducational, preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (4 years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Rossman School is accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools and the Independent Schools Association of the Central States. More information about the school can be found at www.rossmanschool.org.