Donations from Bon Air students help kids get through weekend
When Burrell Principal Amy Lenart learned of a local project to ensure children didn't go hungry on weekends, she thought it would be a perfect community service project for her elementary students.
Even if they were in a different school district.
“What's better than kids helping kids?” asked Lenart.
In three weeks, her Bon Air Elementary students raised $1,060 and donated enough nonperishable food to fill two dozen boxes for Project SEED. An acronym for Something to Eat Every Day, it's a pilot initiative in the New Kensington-Arnold School District.
“This and a couple other huge donations in the last week put us over the top,” said Joanne Cecchi, a retired New Kensington-Arnold administrator who cofounded Project SEED last summer with Ruth Carson.
The women said they've now raised the $18,000 needed to send home a bag of food every weekend this school year for each of the 150-or-so Fort Crawford Elementary students who are participating.
That doesn't mean they can rest on their laurels until summer, though.
“We're already thinking of next year,” said Carson, also a retired New Ken-Arnold administrator.
They would like to expand the weekend food program beyond Fort Crawford, which was chosen for the pilot because of the high percentage of children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.
Cecchi said they have been approached by other school districts interested in starting similar programs.
Cecchi and Carson said they are very thankful for the donors and volunteers who have made the project work.
Cecchi said donations of all sizes have come from about 175 sources — individuals, businesses, nonprofits, churches, and school and youth groups such as Scouts and the Valley High School JROTC.
“It's coming from friends and neighbors,” she said.
“Our volunteers are outstanding,” Carson said, noting that helpers came to the Alle-Kiski Valley Adult Activity Center in New Kensington to pack the food even on cold, snowy days when the center was otherwise closed.
Cecchi said New Kensington donated the time and equipment for the city's public works department to pick up the food and deliver it to the school every Friday morning.
Teachers hand out the bags; Cecchi said extras usually are available that can be given to students who may have hungry siblings at home.
Each bag provides enough food for a child to have two breakfasts and two lunches. Provisions may include cereal bars, fruit cups and snacks, sandwich crackers and microwavable meals such as macaroni and cheese and soup.
As Cecchi and Carson picked up the boxes from Bon Air, she noted all the packages of macaroni and pasta: “They brought in things they know kids like to eat.”
Lenart said her students really seemed to enjoy the project, and not just because donors got to wear pajamas to school one day as a reward. She mentioned one kindergartner, Hailey Brockett, who emptied her piggy bank for the cause.
“That they're helping someone else — they get it,” Lenart said. “They absolutely get it.”
Liz Hayes is staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or email@example.com.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Services end at Roger’s Chapel in South Buffalo Township
- Vandergrift girl hangs on for dear life, defying rare, fatal disease
- Hundreds in Alle-Kiski Valley enjoy fellowship at free Christmas dinners
- Neupert Raceway Park in Jefferson Township set to break ground in spring
- False hostage calls made to police in Allegheny Township, Leechburg, Indiana Township