Students at Carlisle Elementary School in Delaware have donated more than 600 items that will go to People In Need, Inc. of Delaware County at the end of the week.
Carlisle Library Media Specialist Carrie Abahazi said Tuesday that last year, students did a service project and collected donations to help repair a well in Africa.
“It went over so well that (Carlisle Principal Paula Vertikoff) thought it would be a great thing to carry out each year, to do a service project each year,” Abahazi said.
This year, Abahazi read the book “Maddi’s Fridge” by Lois Brandt, which is loosely based on a true story and follows a young girl who learns her best friend has no food in her house.
“The author, as an adult, decided to write this book to raise awareness for childhood hunger, and it’s written in a way that’s totally appropriate and perfect for an elementary school,” Abahazi said. “I read the book to the whole school and decided to tie it to people in need.”
Abahazi said the drive started on Dec. 3 and will run until Dec. 14. She said each grade was tasked with bringing in different food items. Kindergartners brought in macaroni and cheese; first-graders were in charge of pancake mix; second-grade is responsible for peanut butter; third-graders have canned vegetables; fourth-graders were asked for canned fruit; and fifth-graders are responsible for cans of soup.
Abahazi said she hopes her students get a sense of compassion out of the donation drive.
“I feel I can be an influence on young kids in the position I’m in, and I just really hope to teach them compassion and kindness,” she said. “I just want them to see that there’s other people out there that need help.”
First-grader Emma Brown said Tuesday morning that she learned that not everyone has money to buy food, and she hoped her donations would be enjoyed by local families.
Fellow first-grader Mia Ingling said she learned from the book that not everyone has enough food, and she was glad the donations will go to people who need help.
Gabe Cramer, another first-grader, said Tuesday that he learned “sometimes you have to break a secret to help someone else.” Abahazi said in the book, the protagonist’s friend asks her not to tell anyone about the lack of food but realizes later that it was the right thing to do. Abahazi said she’s glad students learned they might need to break a secret in order to help someone else.
The food drive runs until Friday, when the donations will be picked up by People In Need.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.