Riverwood Middle students spend the day serving others
Seventh-grade students at Riverwood Middle School participated in a Day of Service with two local organizations that strive to end hunger in the greater Houston area. The students spent the morning volunteering at the Houston Food Bank, where they assisted in sorting food donations and preparing pallets of food for pick-up and delivery.
The second half of the day students participated in sessions addressing the poverty issues in the greater Houston community. Representatives from Kids’ Meals, a local non-profit that delivers free and healthy daily meals to homes of Houston’s poverty-stricken and hungry children under the age of six, led the students in a discussion about how to help other kids across the Houston community. Kids’ Meals has delivered 5.5 million meals since 2006 and feeds 3,000 kids each day. Currently, their services provide more than 3.8 million meals to preschoolers and their siblings, who are living in poverty.
Kids’ Meals enlisted the help of Riverwood Middle School students to help deliver hope to families across the city of Houston. Kids’ Meals sack lunches and fresh food for families in need, so they challenged the students to collect 4,500 juice boxes, which will provide an entire day’s worth of juice for kids. In the month-long challenge, the students ended up doubling their original goal and collected 9,260 juice boxes. Their collection will supply two days worth of juice for preschoolers in Houston.
“The overall focus of this day is to serve others and continue to teach students the value of giving back to their community,” Matthew Mahony, Riverwood Middle School Assistant Principal for seventh-grade said. “In the wake of Harvey, this message and theme have been especially poignant, since approximately 25% of our schools’ families flooded. During Harvey, many families in Houston, including ours, received the help, support, and the services of organizations and groups similar to the Houston Food Bank and Kids’ Meals.”
The students spent the afternoon learning how their efforts will help end the poverty cycle and help end hunger, decorating personalized bags used to deliver the Kids’ Meals, writing personalized notes of encouragement to place in the lunch bags for both kids and families receiving Kids’ Meals, and a Juice Box art competition. Although the seventh-graders spent their day making a difference in others’ lives they also benefited from the experience.
“Today has been a great experience for me and I have realized how lucky we are to have nice things and not worry about where our next meal will come from,” Riley Weller, RMS seventh-grader said. “Writing nice messages to other kids can make a big difference in their lives.”
Logan Eckert, RMS seventh-grader echoed Weller’s comments.
“It is Important for kids our age to help make a difference in other the kids' lives,” Eckert said. “I want to help others grow as people and give them hope, so they can be happy and successful.”
Riverwood Middle School officially kicked off the summer Kids’ Meals Juice Box Challenge. The campus is the first school to participate in the initiative.
“These students are powerful and have made a huge impact on thousands of kids and their families across the city of Houston,” Cynthia Stielow, Kids’ Meals Director of Development said. “I believe the students are getting a first-hand experience in leadership because now that they are aware of the realities of poverty in Houston, they know how they can help solve this issue.”
Stielow hopes the Day of Service will leave a lasting impression on the students as they continue serving their communities in various capacities.