This February, students at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s embraced a challenge to support their neighbors at Broadway Presbyterian Church and Ford Hall. The February Food Challenge coincided with the school’s 100th day of school: students aimed to collect 100 food items and kitchen supplies per grade by the 100th day. On the final day of the challenge, junior kindergarten and fifth grade students delivered bags and boxes of food and supplies and spent time in the Broadway Community pantry, learning about how their donations will be shared in the community.
The concept of a food drive is not new to our students, says Community Service Coordinator Violeta Epstein. “Each year, our students and families generously donate food and supplies for November’s Thanksgiving Food Chain,” she explained. The Food Chain benefits Broadway Community’s various food pantry and nutrition education programs. Donations to the Food Chain stock the pantry shelves where New Yorkers who are homeless, hungry, or simply struggling in a difficult economy can “shop” for food and basic kitchen supplies.
“This bounty used to last throughout the winter,” Ms. Epstein says. “A few years ago, however, we learned that due to increased demand for food in New York City, our donations were running out very early in the year.”
To meet the increased demand, St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s began a February Food Challenge. The added food drive helps supplement the food pantries’ offerings and reinforces the school’s message of kindness, unity, and service.
“Developing compassion for our neighbors and an awareness of the ways we are privileged is an important part of St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s mission,” said Ms. Epstein. “Our students are already involved with Broadway Presbyterian and Ford Hall through other service and religious knowledge activities, so they have relationships with these organizations and the people they serve. As we have learned from the Thanksgiving Food Chain, a food drive is concrete and tangible. It is an excellent way for early childhood and elementary school-aged children to help those in need.”