Despite the many problems and needs teenagers face on a daily basis — both in one’s personal life and in school — students at Carson City-Crystal Area Schools recently devoted one hour of their school day to selflessly give to thousands of families they will never meet.
Students participated in an hour-long food packaging effort Friday, April 20, in the gymnasium of Carson City-Crystal High School, where they packaged 10,000 bags of food to feed the hungry.
The Carson City Youth Leadership Team, consisting of 21 students, partnered with Kids Against Hunger for the food packaging day and involved all students in grades eight though 12 in the process, working in 15-minute shifts to include everyone.
Lindsay McClintic, a 10th-grader, helped spearhead the activity when she wrote and submitted a grant for $1,000 to help fund the project, which totaled $2,800 in costs to fund.
Between two grants, fundraisers and donations from throughout the Carson City community, the costs of the project were covered.
“I really wanted to help people,” McClintic said. “At a leadership camp we went to this past summer, we had just gotten back from an all-you-can-eat buffet when we were then told that every 6 seconds during dinner a kid died from hunger-related causes across the world. We had just stuffed our faces and all of these kids had died. I really wanted to help out and we have the ability, so why not?”
McClintic and her fellow students worked in an assembly-line style effort, scooping up grains of rice, packaging them together and boxing them for delivery. Each package contained rice, soy and dried vegetables and minerals, calories and nutrients to help people who may be suffering from malnutrition.
Each bag can feed a family of six for one meal.
“I was inspired at that camp when Kids Against Hunger came there and we packaged (food),” McClintic said. “I really, really liked it because it was easy and in an hour we helped over 60,000 people.”
As history and special education teacher Kristin Holden watched hundreds of students shift in an out of the gymnasium in a collaborative effort, she couldn’t believe the care and concern coming from each student.
“We have some amazing students here in Carson City and I hope they can influence some of those who may not be as aware of what is going on,” Holden said. “I think it’s really great for them to get a taste of what’s going on in the real world because you are surrounded by your little town and your little life and it really opens it up for them to see what people need and why we are doing this. It also helps our community as well as many other people.”
Mid Michigan Project Administrator for Kids Against Hunger David Foster was running from table to table offering assistance and could only smile at the effort being put forth by the students.
“It just warms my heart and makes me feel great inside that the next generation of our population can handle something like this and can do something as wonderful as this,” Foster said. “For such a short period of time and having that many kids come in, it was just wonderful. They looked like they were having fun too.”
According to Foster, a third of the packaged food will be delivered to the Carson City Food Pantry. Another third will go to either the countries of Haiti or Guatemala. The final third will be delivered to the Kids Against Hunger storage facility in Detroit, where it will be kept in the event of a disaster.
For Julie Anderson, who serves as the adult mentor for the youth leadership team and is also the service learning coordinator at Carson City-Crystal Area Schools, things couldn’t have gone more according to plan.
“I think things went really well,” Anderson said. “There were some kids that didn’t want to leave, they were asking if they could do more. All of the students here did a wonderful job. I didn’t hear any complaining and I had many students asking ‘when can we do this again?’”
Sophomore Jaylin Fisher is one of the 21 members of the youth leadership team. What impressed her most about the day was how much every student who was not part of the group cared when participating in the food packaging event.
“It makes me feel really good that I am part of an effort to help save people’s lives,” Fisher said. “Even though these other students aren’t part of the leadership team, it shows that everyone here cares. Everyone had to take some time out of their day to help do this. I’m very proud of us, of all the students at Carson City.”