Last February, student Aerin Leigh Lammers, did something she's done since she was 3 or 4 years old.
Inspired by a television program about a young person who asked for donations to a zoo instead of birthday presents, Lammers has followed the same course of action since her toddler days. Now 11, Lammers asks for help for local food pantries instead of Hanukkah and birthday presents.
A new trend
Last year, Lammers said she noticed something that disturbed her as she made the February delivery: how empty pantries can get after food drives focused around Christmas and Hanukkah have run their course.
She turned her observation into action with what became her school's first Snack Attack.
Lammers' goal was to have donors think of a food drive from a kid's perspective.
"Everybody goes out and buys cans of lima beans, but they never really realize kids their age are also getting food, and you know, not everybody here is in love with canned vegetables," she told Patch.
Lammers also recognized that with the economic downturn, she probably knew people who used to donate to drives and now need help themselves.
Between January 17 and January 23, the Snack Attack brought in 3,290 servings of food. That includes a few cans of beans and a wide range of other foods.
Making Snack Attack work was about more than simply asking people to donate. It required Lammers to use math and organizational skills, create and work with a spreadsheet to manage it all, and the interpersonal skills necessary to communicate with adults.
Then there was the muscle needed to collect all the donated food in tubs for delivery to Circle of Concern.
Lammers said she hopes the effort catches on throughout the Parkway School District next year. She believes it has already opened some eyes among her peers.
“It’s amazing just how much one box of food can help somebody," she said.