The students at the middle school have been gathering non-perishable foods for a couple weeks. At the start of the food drive, a speaker came from an area food bank to talk about why they need the food and the many people that come to the food bank. The school backed up the speaker with a challenge to each class (5th through 8th) to bring in 500 cans or other non-perishable items. The prize--middle school remember--for each class would be a Marquette Basketball and participation in a school wide basketball tournament!
I was present for the final can count this morning. There was a flurry of counting and recounting in the 6th grade classroom as students came in with their final additions to the cause. A cheer would come from the boys every time another classmate came in with a bag or box to add, and then they would start counting all over again. The final total for this one class?...650 items!
The teacher sent his students down to the morning assembly, but he was stopped by a 7th grade emissary in the hall. They hadn't raised enough cans to join in the school-wide basketball game, and would the 6th graders share some of their surplus? The teacher said he would have to ask the students who had gathered the goods for those in need. The assembly upped the pressure on the 6th grade boys...the 8th grade and 5th grade students had given their surplus goods to the 7th grade class, but they were still short by almost 70 items! The boys met quickly but denied the request. Their reasoning?...They were raising cans to help the food bank and not just play basketball...so no ball playing for the 7th grade boys. Unless the principal had mercy later on.
The generosity of the school was overwhelming. This school of about 80 or 90 boys gathered over 2,000 items for the area food bank! The students of this school are not privileged, they are part of the Latino neighborhood on the South Side. This generosity came not from their excess, but from their own need in some cases. The boxes of ramen noodles and slightly dented cans that were donated so willingly will be welcomed by another family in need in the same neighborhood.