‘Tis the Season for Gratitude and Giving Back

The annual Lower School Food Drive is a Fessenden tradition that not only provides food for neighbors in need, but also teaches Pre-K – Grade 4  boys about the importance of helping others, and inspires all of the adults who help with the project. We thought it the perfect story to share the week before Thanksgiving.

“Feeling grateful often inspires us to want to help others,” explained Greta Sanborn, Fessenden’s Lower School Service Learning Coordinator, Kindergarten Teacher, at the kickoff of Lower School Food Drive earlier this month. Pre-K – Grade 4 boys then shared what they were grateful for: “Having enough to eat,”; “My dog,”; “Recess,”; “My best friend.” They also discussed why it is important to help others, even those you don’t know. By the end of the assembly, the boys were fired up about reaching their goal of collecting 2,000 cans of food for the Waltham Food Pantry.

Fessenden boys write what they are thankful for on the turkey's feathers
Fessenden’s Third Grade Gratitude Turkey

Over the next few weeks, the Lower School boys collected over 3,000 cans, blowing past their 2,000 can goal. Then it was time for the fourth graders, the leaders of the Lower School, to step in to sort, pack, and deliver the bounty to the food pantry. 

On Tuesday, November 19, the fourth graders gathered in the hallway after school. As they awaited their instructions, their eagerness and anticipation grew. Paper bags were given out and each boy was assigned to an area of the Lower School, where he was in charge of making sure that each can was collected. Then the boys, who could not be contained any longer, were set free to begin the task of gathering all of the cans. Running between classrooms, their joy was palpable. As they collected bag after bag of canned goods, their excitement shifted to amazement, and they were saying things such as, “I can’t believe we collected all of these cans! There’s no way that we’ll fit them all into the food pantry!”

The boys traveled with the cans to the food pantry, and, as they do every year with a little help from teachers and parent volunteers, they managed to fit all the donations onto the shelves. By the time the fourth graders departed the Waltham Food Pantry, they had left behind enough canned goods to provide supplemental support to a community of people for at least two weeks. They knew that, together with the rest of the Lower School, they had done meaningful and important work—the work of serving others.

Food Pantry Shelves Before Fessenden Arrives
Food Pantry Shelves Before Fessenden Arrives
Food Pantry Shelves After Fessenden Stocks the Shelves

We are grateful to all of the boys in Pre-K – Grade 4, the families who guide them, and this year’s parent and faculty volunteers for making the 2019 food drive such a huge success. Special thanks to Greta Sanborn, Fessenden’s Lower School Service Learning Coordinator, Kindergarten Teacher who has enthusiastically led Lower School community service initiatives for several years. Please let us know what you are grateful for in the comment section below.

Learn more about the Waltham Food Pantry.

Find a food pantry in your community at FoodPantries.org.

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