Sligo Students Collect Food for Those in Need
More than 105 fourth- through eighth-grade students and teachers from Potomac Conference's Sligo Adventist School (SAS) in Takoma Park, Md., recently invited residents in the surrounding neighborhood to contribute to their annual Fall Food Drive.
Story and photos by David Turner
More than 105 fourth- through eighth-grade students and teachers from the Sligo Adventist School (SAS) in Takoma Park, Md., recently invited residents in the surrounding neighborhood to contribute to their annual Fall Food Drive.
The days leading up to this event were filled with excitement as notes of cheer and invitations to attend the Christmas program were diligently stapled to each bag. Students knocked on doors, hoping to make contact with residents and ask them to donate food for those less fortunate. When there was not a response at the door, they left bags. “It is always amazing to observe students as they tried to outdo each other in seeing who can distribute the most bags in the time allotted,” say organizers.
Not all the interactions or responses were welcoming, but the students were rarely deterred as they moved to the next door brimming with hope for a better outcome. Bradley Marshall and Stefan Laurry, eighth-grade students, shared that people were not always kind or happy to see them. “These are important realities that our students must understand about the world we live in today, as we mentor them in an appropriate response that reflects the 'heart of God,' and attitude that encourages them to not be deterred,” says L. Roo McKenzie, principal.
The students later returned to the community, this time to collect the bags distributed. Students ran from door to door, hopped over hedges and got excited to find bags full of canned and dried goods at the doors. Parents also assisted with the collection process.
This year the students collected 83 bags. Some of the residents even called the school to request a pickup of bags the students had missed. Mike Jenkins shares that he attended SAS as a first-grader in 1958 and feels that this activity is so relevant for kids today as they "learn to be compassionate towards others."
For a number of students, participating in this SAS sponsored activity was a new experience. Emmanuel Vidal, a sixth-grader who recently started attending SAS, shared, "I liked this, it was different, but we did not always get good responses."
The food bags were donated to the Sligo church and Adventist Community Services of Greater Washington in nearby Silver Spring, which continues to meet the community's needs through various ventures, including its food pantry and clothing distribution. “This activity, now an entrenched part of the school's service projects, seeks to expose students to the surrounding community in an effort that brings rich rewards to those among us who benefit from the food donations,” says McKenzie.
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