Nothing beats breakfast.
And with Rendell Park Elementary School’s latest initiative, some people in the school and around the community won’t have to miss it anymore.
It began with a question: “What can we do in the school and what can we do to reach out to the community?” said principal of Rendell Park Sheldon Gallagher.
It was the school’s parent council (SCC-Parents as Partners) who took the initiative in planning for something that would help both the students and the community alike; a canned food drive seemed perfect for that.
And by the time all the food was collected and counted last Friday, each and every classroom at Rendell Park had contributed.
But only two would have donated the most food; one classroom from each division.
“When we made the announcements,” said Gallagher, “and I announced our Div. 2 winners, you could just hear the cheering coming down the hall because they knew they had won, so their classroom just kind of went a bit crazy.”
For bringing in the most food donations, that Division 2 class had earned themselves an ice-cream float party; an incentive that Gallagher said put the spirit of competition in the students and made for a fun time that also offered a lesson to be learned.
“They see that ability to do something,” said Gallagher. “At first it was just sort of an idea and then when we see this kind of momentum, they get a real sense of empowerment.”
While the winning classroom brought in 112 items, including boxes of cereal, fruit cups and packages of granola bars, the whole school combined managed to donate approximately 910 items, said co-chair of SCC-Parents as Partners, Kari-Lynn Kaye.
Those donations, said Kaye, will have a “Huge impact, especially at this time of year when the food bank is needing these items and for us, throughout the year, it gives a boost to the community and a boost to the school as well.”
Half of the donations will go to the Salvation Army Food Bank, while the other half will go directly back into the school for their breakfast program, an arrangement that makes sure kids who forget to eat their first meal of the day have full bellies when class begins.
“Part of what we like to do is make sure that they’ve got cereal or toast or something in them so that they’re ready to learn,” said Gallagher.
And with those donations, that applies to hungry children city-wide, too.