Fighting Hunger: Second Grade Leads Food Drive Effort at MMS

For the fifth consecutive year, the Mount Madonna School (MMS) second grade class is leading a community social service effort at MMS, to collect donations of canned, boxed and packaged dried food for the Grind Out Hunger Program and Second Harvest Food Bank. This year, partnering with their 4th and 11th grade buddies, the students set a goal of collecting enough donated food to provide 700 meals.
‘Second graders are challenging their buddies to a donation competition,’ said second grade teacher Jenni Leach. ‘Our goal is 5 cans or 5 pounds of food per MMS student. Students calculated that this would provide the community with about 700 meals if we reach our goal.’
‘Everyone who has enough to eat needs to donate,’ commented second grader Kinsey Don Carlos. ‘I don’t want hungry kids to be mad, sad or scared because they don’t know where their food is going to come from or even if they will get food.’ 
As part of their learning for this project, second graders are engaging in web-based research, mathematics, writing a collective report about hunger in the community, and will give oral presentations to other MMS students, Pre/K through grade 12. They will also take a field trip to the Second Harvest warehouse.
Earlier this week they put up colorful, handmade posters around campus to encourage donations from their schoolmates. A Second Harvest collection barrel is located at the near the Upper School office, and second graders will collect donations each day at the lower school bus stop.. Donations can be made through October 31. 
In preparation for the food drive effort, second graders studied human development and nutrition and the effects of eating healthy well-balanced meals vs. unhealthy choices. Leach said this prepares students to grasp the seriousness of hunger and malnutrition, and the effects on children’s learning, behaviors and emotions, as well as the long-term consequences of not having an education or happiness. 
‘This project is perfect for 7 and 8 year olds,’ commented Leach. ‘They are learning about food scarcity and looking at graphs and data to understand hunger in our community, state and country. Second graders have a genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of others and feel deeply empathetic and compassionate toward those who are hungry.’ 
‘If people are caring and donate, then more kids will have food,’ said second grader Rocco Cristallo. ‘This will help hungry kids be good and focus in school.’  
As part of their research, students visited the Grind Out Hunger and Second Harvest Food Bank websites.  
‘We learned that the Grind Out Hunger Program was created through the vision of skateboarder Danny Keith, who wanted to help kids overcome hunger and malnutrition,’ explained Leach. ‘When he found out that one out of every eight kids in Santa Cruz County was going hungry, he wanted to make a difference. He knew kids have energy and they care about helping others, so he started a non-profit organization and asked skateboarders, snowboarders, surfers, musicians and kids in schools to help fight hunger in our community.’
‘I don’t like seeing people suffer,’ shared second grader Cavan Smith. ‘I want to be like Danny Keith. Kids should look out for other kids.’
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Nestled among the redwoods on 355 mountaintop acres, Mount Madonna is a safe and nurturing college-preparatory school that supports students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.