Written by Jenn Hopman, educator at Beamsville District Secondary School
Beamsville District Secondary School held its first ever Halloween food drive last year. It was run by our ME to WE club – a group of keen students who embrace the ideals and philosophy of Free The Children in their everyday lives. At our first meeting we decided that food collected would go to the local Community Care, which is located just steps away from the school. It had been in the news that food bank levels were extremely low and the kids wanted to do something to help.
We wanted to make this event fun and memorable. What better way to do this than initiate friendly classroom competitions? Incentives are always a must! The class that raised the most in food would win a pizza and donut party. We began with a week of announcements to bring awareness to the school about poverty in our area, the plight of Community Care and their lack of food donations, and what the Halloween for Hunger campaign was all about. This was followed by food collection, which took place the week leading up to the 31st.
Each class was responsible for counting each item and reporting their totals before their food was collected. It was cool to see the grade 11 chemistry class compete against the grade 11 physics class in who could bring in the most food items! Once everything was said and done BDSS collected over 860 lbs of food for Community Care. Our students were proud of their achievement, especially as they didn’t really know what the outcome was going to be since they had never done this before. Staff at Community Care was so appreciative and it was humbling for the students to know that they had positively impacted a family’s life in a small, but meaningful way.
I believe participating in this campaign helped the students develop a greater sense of community spirit. They also began to realize that it’s the small steps that start the cycle of change. This year we have an even greater number of students participating in our ME to WE club! Their motivation is high and they are striving towards even bigger change. It is their goal to tackle the new “WE” campaigns throughout the school year. They also want to focus on an international initiative as well. They are looking forward to the We Scare Hunger campaign this month and the plans are to raise more than ever—almost double last year’s total—and reach 1500 lbs. Yes, it’s a lofty goal, but most definitely attainable!
Help scare away hunger in your own community. Sign up to take part in We Scare Hunger this Halloween and go door-to-door for non-perishable food items instead of candy. www.freethechildren.com/wescarehunger