Upper Arlington News

Service learning leads to April 26 'Hunger Line'

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Jones Middle School students will form a "Hunger Line" on Global Youth Service Day to pick up food donations from Upper Arlington residents.

Then they will walk to a local food pantry.

About 250 Jones students will begin their walk at 9:15 a.m. Friday, April 26, with groups of students heading down Arlington Avenue to Cambridge Boulevard; Coventry Road to Cambridge and Andover Road to Lincoln Road, ending up at the Heart to Heart food pantry, 1320 Cambridge Blvd. in Grandview.

Teacher Molly Miely said Jones is coordinating the Hunger Line with efforts at schools in other communities that day, including Emerson Magnet School in Westerville. Second-grade Emerson students will begin walking and collecting food donations at 12:30 p.m. April 26, on Vine Street to Broadway.

She said schools in Dublin and Worthington also will participate.

"Getting more schools in the central Ohio area involved in the same activity is beneficial in the same way as getting more involved in our school," Miely said.

Items needed by the food pantry include tuna, peanut butter, fruits and vegetables, soups such as chili with beans, canned pasta with meat and nutritious, kid-friendly foods.

Miely and Jones received a $5,000 Sodexo/Youth Service America grant last fall to help classes in the study of childhood hunger and how to address it in local communities.

Jones Middle School was one of only 11 schools in the nation to receive the service learning grant.

"The grant has allowed Jones students to work with other students in central Ohio to help solve the issues of childhood hunger on a greater scale," Miely said. "Students have visited the Mid-Ohio Foodbank multiple times -- for the Youth Summit on Hunger, for a tour and healthy cooking demo and for the Critical Issues Summit on Poverty."

The Jones students worked with third-graders at Barrington and Tremont schools in Upper Arlington to raise awareness of childhood hunger. They also conducted a Jones pennant sale recently that raised $10,800 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.

"The children have sold almost 450 pennants," Miely said.

She brought sixth-graders Gracie Barnum, Charlie Fleming, Sammie Grant, Elizabeth McKenna, Andrew Shapiro, Elizabeth Stoeckinger and Marturia Yami to the Upper Arlington Board of Education meeting April 15 to show board members the pennants and talk about the students' efforts to end childhood hunger.

"We are working on learning about poverty and hunger and have been raising awareness of childhood hunger at other schools," McKenna said. "Making a difference starts with everyone."

The students said they made the pennants and sold them for $3 each.

Miely said the students recently Skyped with Ellen Erlanger of the Growing Together Service-Learning Network and educators from New Mexico.

When Erlanger asked what they are learning, Shapiro answered: "We've been learning about hunger in our area and around the world.

"When I learned that in Ohio, there were more hungry people than not, that made an impact on me," he said.

Another student, Jon Deshler, said he will remember this project.

"I will remember that no matter how old you are, you can make a difference," he said. "You don't have to be old -- an adult -- to help others and make a difference."

Michael Kern said the secret is in working together.

"By myself, I can't make such an impact, but we can when we're part of a group," he said. "That's how we stop hunger."

Miely said service learning allows children to learn curriculum concepts while being problem-solvers in their communities.

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