The pandemic has put a financial strain on many families in the community. A group of Huntsville Public School students and their teacher, Sarah Thatcher, want to help ease that struggle.
Thatcher thought a club with the core values of empathy and helping others would be the perfect start to the school year. While volunteering at The Table, she saw the need for food increase and the number of volunteers decrease through the pandemic.
“This is a lesson kids need to earn early in life,” said Thatcher. “There are always people going through different things and if we have the means to help with our time and energy, we can help to become allies to people in our community who may not have a voice themselves.”
More than 30 students came to the first meeting of the club, which they’ve dubbed HPS Helpers. Thatcher said she was blown away that so many kids were excited about the idea of helping out the community.
Their first community project will be a food drive for The Table.
Thatcher hopes that in addition to collecting food for The Table, she will also be able to teach her students leadership skills, communication skills, public speaking, and speech writing as these will all be part of marketing the food drive.
With COVID protocols easing a bit this year, students are now allowed to go into other classes and make announcements as well as speak about the food drive during assemblies and morning announcements.
“Teaching volunteerism and empathy is so important nowadays and it’s a huge goal of mine as a teacher,” said Thatcher. “The students are also learning a sense of community within their school which is very important with all of the connection they missed during COVID.”
HPS has challenged other schools to get involved, including Spruce Glen, Irwin Memorial, and Muskoka Christian School.
The Table’s list of most-needed foods includes:
- pasta sauce
- canned vegetables
- canned potatoes
- kidney beans
Thatcher says they are hoping to also get local businesses involved, whether through donating prizes to the school that gathers the most food, donating food to the drive, or donating money directly to The Table.
The students will be collecting non-perishable food items until Halloween. To make a donation, contact Sarah Thatcher at firstname.lastname@example.org
Just two meetings in, the club is already brainstorming for future fundraisers including a winter clothing driving so watch for more ways to support HPS Helpers in making the community a better place.
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