Lines of students and staff filled the cafeteria at the Wheatley Alternative Education Center on Friday, October 14, as they prepared meals for people in hurricane ravaged Haiti.
“It makes me feel ecstatic. Words can’t even describe it,” said one student placing rice into the food packs.
The project came together after Jeff Pedigo, director of the Central Texas chapter of Kids Against Hunger, connected with Carl Pleasant, Wheatley Principal.
Pedigo and his team came to Wheatley, set up the assembly lines, and brought all the food. It was up to Wheatley students and staff to put the meal packs together.
“I’ve been amazed,” Pedigo said. “When I first pulled up I was met by two boys with the biggest smiles on their face asking ‘what can we do?’”
That spirit of working together to help others motivated the students throughout the morning.
“It looked complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy,” 9th grade student Anthony Gonzales said.
Working in a line, one student took a food pack bag, and then each person in line filled it with various ingredients for a nutritious meal including soy, rice and dried vegetables. The pack was then sealed and boxed for shipment.
All the recipients need to do is add the food pack to boiling water to make up to 10 servings. It’s simple food that will go a long way for people in Haiti who have nothing after Hurricane Matthew.
“It’s more important, working together, and it’s really a good thing to feed children and people who really need this,” said 9th grade student Armando Perez.
These are lessons learned today, that will continue to impact these student’s education long after the meals are delivered to Haiti.
“It’s great because we’re able to use this as a life skill. We have math because they’re counting, language because they have to talk to each to get the job done. So, after today, we’re going to take this into our classes, and reflect on it, and learn from it,” said Wheatley Principal Carl Pleasant.
When the soy dust settled, the students had packaged more than six thousand meals.
“Let’s come to these guys and give them an opportunity to have a hands on experience and make a difference in the lives of other kids. Give them an experience so they know they matter, they can make a difference and they have value,” Pedigo said.
Value as a person and value working together as a team, that was not lost on the students involved.
6th grade student Lexavier Ashburn reflected, “What happened in the hurricane, and all those people who passed, it’s really hurtful. So, helping people out is important to me. If you help the community you’re going to get some help back. They’re struggling a lot, but if we help they’re going to get blessed and we’re going to get blessed too.”