The week after Fall Break, 5th graders started learning how hunger affects our world. On the following Monday, we had a chance to impact the world by working with Stop Hunger Now. We packed meals for hungry people around the world, especially children in schools and orphanages.
Everyone had a job. Dane was a runner. He ran the bags of rice to people at the scales. After the bags were weighed, students like Jane Beason boxed up everything to send to people who need food. Seth refilled the rice, vitamins, soy, and dried vegetables that went into each bag. Aayushi stood at the funnel station, putting the rice and vitamins in the bags. Even the 8th graders had a big part; they helped set up the tables, bags of rice, and work stations. Then there was me! I got to ask people how they felt about this experience.
I started with my friend, Ashlyn, to boost my confidence. I asked her, “How do you feel about the gloves and hairnet?”
She responded excitedly, saying, “The hairnet’s real weird, and the gloves keep breaking. We are five minutes in, and I have gone through two pairs of gloves!”
After that I went to Mr. Tieslau, our choral teacher, and I asked, “How much rice do you think is in this room? Please give me an estimate in pounds.”
He picked up a bag of rice and said it was 50 pounds. Then he looked around a few times and finally said, “Ten-thousand pounds.”
I had to run after Dane because his job was running errands for any funnel stations who yelled, “Runner!”
I asked, “What country would you give this food to and why?”
He responded in a rush, “Haiti, because of Hurricane Matthew.” Then he ran off.
I saw Nate, who was also a runner, so I went over to interview him. I asked, “How much rice do you think is in this room?”
He said, “Five-hundred pounds.” And then he was off, too.
Sam was walking around. I asked him, “How do you like the hair nets?”
He thought for a minute then said in a funny voice, “They are weird, itchy, and now I know how the lunch ladies feel every day.”
After I was done laughing at what Sam said, I saw Mr. Rainey, our Head of School, come in with a big smile. I ran to him before anyone realized he was there. "If you got to choose where the food packs were going, where would it be?” I asked.
“It would be in Huntsville because there are a lot more hungry people in our city than we realize,” he said.
In the final few minutes I interviewed Mr. Elliott, the Head of the Middle School. “How do you feel about doing this?”
He responded saying, “It is a nice thing for Randolph to do and it is very fun.”
The booming sound of the gong rang and following it were the loud cheers of my classmates; it meant we had met our goal. We had packed 10,000 meals in just two hours. I was happy that we made 10,000 meals for kids, but sad that I could not do any more interviews.
The next day I went to language arts to start on my story and realized I did not capture the heart of the Stop Hunger Now experience. So I asked more people questions to try to get into the heart of this experience.
First I asked Ms. Brewer, our teacher, “If you got to do this again, what would you change?”
After thinking for a moment, she answered, “I think if we have all of Randolph do it, we can make an even bigger impact on the world.”
Then I saw Ella R. in the hall, so I asked, “How did Stop Hunger Now change you?”
She said, “It made me more aware of what’s happening in the world.”
I also interviewed Ms. Ragsdale, our dean, and I asked, “If you were one of these kids who are in dire need of food and got a package of food, how would you feel?”
She thought for a second. Then she said, “I would be so grateful that someone cares about me. I would try and give back.”
Here's what some of the other students had to say:
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After looking over all my interviews, I wanted to share what I learned. I hope you will find it as fascinating as I do:
· More than half the world suffers from hunger.
· There is enough food for each person to get four pounds of food a day.
· The heart of the problem is not that there’s not enough food, it’s that people in some countries aren’t able to access it.
· A little school like ours can make a big impact on our big world.
Lauren Kronk is a 5th grader who enjoys the outdoors and being active. She wants to be a Fox News reporter when she grows up.
Clay Elliott, Head of Middle School, adds: "Randolph's Middle School is dedicated to building a sense of service and a connection to local opportunities within each of our students. Each grade takes on service projects; Stop Hunger Now was the 5th grade Fall service program. In the days leading up to the project, students learned about food shortage, malnutrition, and the extent of the challenge of hunger in our world. This understanding gave their participation real meaning and provided real world context for their work. They are already full of ideas for the next project and are dreaming up new ways that they can contribute to the Huntsville community and beyond."
Thanks to Marko, Ruby, Cooper, Alex, and Sam, the 8th graders who got the gym ready for the meal-packing; to Ms. Clayton, who suggested this project;, to John Laney, '16, for help with set-up and packing, and counting all those ten-thousand meals as they were boxed for delivery; and to WHNT reporter Melissa Riopka, who did a story on the project, and gave Lauren advice about asking open-ended interview questions and checking facts.