NEW HAVEN — Students reading one book triggered a series of events that culminated in a donation of hundreds of dollars worth of food to the Bend Area Food Pantry.
Fifth-grade students at New Haven Elementary School read the book, “One Hen,” about a young boy in Africa who, with the help of a small loan, bought a hen. He used the hen to help feed him and his mother, plus sell the extra eggs.
By selling the eggs, the boy bought more hens and eventually, upon adulthood, employed many people in his village. He also began giving his own loans to young African children.
After reading the book, students became involved in a “Project Based Learning” event, according to teachers Jacque Richardson, Charlie Tyree and Kira Northup.
Several speakers came to the school to talk with the students. Teacher Shayla Blackshire spoke about chickens. Willis Wasonga Kaunda talked about Africa, where he grew up. Loans were discussed by Misti Brewer, of City National Bank, and Vicky and Lew Nazarewycz told the children about the Bend Area Food Pantry.
Armed with loans from their teachers, the fifth graders bought supplies and made crafts of duct tape pencil pouches, feather pencils and “slime” to sell to fellow students at recess. They agreed the profits made would buy food for the pantry to help their community.
Items were sold for $1 each, and at the end of the week, the students were required to repay the loan money to their teachers, plus 10 percent interest. (The teachers later donated the money back to the project.) After the items were sold, they had made a total of $392.20.
The students conducted a food drive at the school, collecting canned and boxed goods. The teachers shopped with the money earned, and a van loaded full of groceries was delivered to the food pantry. Children traveled by bus to the pantry to pose for photos, carry in the food boxes, and stock the shelves.
“The book was about a boy who helped his community, and we decided this was the best way for us to help our community,” Richardson said. “One hen made a difference in their village. We want these kids to know they can make a difference.”
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing and lives in Mason County.