By Vicki Bradley, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Many area schools celebrate the 100th day of the school year by featuring the number 100 in student activities. For example, students may create a picture using 100 items, or find 100 similar objects to bring into school for show and tell. Third-grade teacher at Peaslee School Melissa Farrell wanted to do something different: she suggested the students participate in a food drive to collect much-needed items for the local food pantry.
The Northborough Food Pantry serves approximately 75 families at the pantry every week, and with no other food drives occurring in February, the timing of the Peaslee School collection couldn's be better, according to pantry officials.
“We were thrilled when Peaslee told us they were going to have a drive to celebrate their 100th day,” Ann Taggart, co-director of Northborough Food Pantry, said. “They did a fabulous job, with each class collecting a certain category of items of what was most needed at the pantry.”
With Taggart's assistance, each grade was assigned a particular item to collect over the month-long food drive. The pantry continually needs items such as peanut butter, diapers, juice and toiletries, and the students were very excited to bring the items in, and to see them piling up on the collection table.
“I liked collecting the personal care items because it was easy to get and it wasn's too expensive,” student Bobby Kebartas said.
The food drive reinforced the students” curriculum: they counted, graphed and tallied all of the items they collected.
“We celebrate the number 100 because it is a foundational number that children need to understand and to apply to higher level thinking concepts in mathematics,” Farrell explained.
She added that the goal for the celebration was to do something fun that would integrate their school work with a charitable activity so students also learn the importance of helping others.
“We emphasized that there was no prize for winning – it was about helping others and a random act of kindness,” she said.
Student Emma Devens said she understood the importance of what she and her classmates were doing “because people with not enough money will be very hungry,” and the students wanted to help those in need.
The students collected over 600 items for the Northborough Food Pantry.
“It felt really good to help the families in Northborough,” student Caroline Armstrong said.
Since the first food drive was such a success, the Peaslee School hopes to continue incorporating charitable activities in its future 100th day celebrations.