By Mark Ambrogi
West Clay Elementary School students are doing their share to help feed those less fortunate.
Under the guidance of cafeteria manager Beth Galloway, the students are donating their food to the Merciful HELP Center at Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
West Clay Elementary second-graders Briggs Griffin, 8, and Lauren Clay, 7, will represent West Clay at the Eco Science Fair at Indiana State Museum in Indianapolis on March 20-21 to showcase the project. Nicki Griffin, Briggs’ mother, transports the food from the school and takes it to the Merciful HELP Center at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Lauren’s mother Kate Lopez is part of the Carmel Clay Schools Green program.
“Where my mom brings it, anyone who is hungry can come in and get some food,” Briggs said. “It doesn’t cost any money.”
Briggs said all the kids at his school like to help out. Lauren said most students are remembering to recycle.
“It’s going great because a lot of people say ‘I haven’t opened this, I can give it to Food Rescue,’” Lauren said. “So they don’t waste it.”
West Clay principal Jennifer Szuhaj said her Carmel school got involved with the Food Rescue program because she said they were seeing such a large amount of food being thrown away. Food Rescue matches up those willing to donate their unused food with a local food pantry.
“We want our students to eat their food, but sometimes they are just full or decide they don’t want certain foods,” Szuhaj said. “Instead of just throwing their food away, the students put certain foods on a special cart and now those foods go to someone in need instead of the trash. The staff and the students are very excited about the program and feel good inside knowing they are helping to feed people who are hungry.”
Griffin unloads the food and weighs it, then puts the milk and perishables in the refrigerator.
“There are usually lot of unopened cartons of milk, cheese sticks, raisins, things that kids have to take,” Griffin said.
Griffin, an OLMC parishioner, volunteered with OLMC asked the congregation for a volunteer who could drive the food from the school to the Merciful HELP Center.
“Feed people not landfills is what they are going for,” Lopez said.