St. Martin of Tours helps stock food bank shelves
By Laura Lennie, News Staff
St. Martin of Tours Catholic Elementary School is doing its part to ensure families in need don’t go without this Easter.
The social justice committee, student council and two teachers chartered a bus and delivered more than 1,500 non-perishable food items to the Stoney Creek Community Food Bank last Thursday. The school representatives also helped organize and put items on the shelves in preparation for the holiday rush.
“We learn from junior kindergarten to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and walk around for a day,” social justice committee member Melina Ashali said. “Learning it at such a young age, it’s an integral part in both our education and our faith to help others when we can. As a school, we realize that not everybody has a huge Easter meal, not everybody has three meals a day, so we wanted to help out in whatever way we could.”
The social justice committee and student council, made up of about 20 Grade 7 and 8 students, teamed up to organize a Lenten food drive campaign for the food bank two weeks before March break. The goal was to collect 1,200 non-perishable food items from students.
Grade 8 student Matthew Blackborow, Grade 7 student Liam Walsh and Grade 8 teacher Sam Musa also offered to have their heads shaved as extra incentive. The school rose to the challenge and surpassed its original goal.
The school, which has about 320 students, organizes a food drive for the food bank each month.
“The school is one of our best suppliers,” food bank chair Wilf Rogers said. “We don’t usually have students come here, help organize and put items on the shelves, so it’s really nice. It’s a great way for them to find out what goes on here and learn what we’re all about, which is helping those in need in Stoney Creek.”
The food bank served 545 individuals – 354 adults and 191 children – last month.
Rogers said thanks to contributions from the school, Hamilton Food Share, Cadbury and ongoing support from the community, the food bank is A-OK as it heads into Easter.
“We still have food left over from Christmas. We also, for the first time, have diapers, a lot of them for those ages one and two,” he said. “We expect by June, we’ll be just about out of food. Because school’s out and summer’s around the corner, it’s always one of the more difficult times, but we will survive.”
Melina said it’s important to keep in mind that hunger doesn’t just happen around the holidays.
“I feel it’s always in the back of our minds that there are others who don’t have enough to eat. I think sometimes we just need a reminder that others need assistance, so it’s about encouraging people to help and participate,” she said. “Everybody knows that there’s poverty all over the world, but there’s poverty close to home too. It’s important to help out those in need in our community.”