Students from Culver School took an unusual field trip on Feb. 7. Instead of visiting a museum or touring a local business, they traveled to Schaumburg to volunteer at the nonprofit organization Feed My Starving Children. While there, they packed nutritionally balanced meals for malnourished children in Kenya.
“Having the opportunity to volunteer for an amazing organization like Feed My Starving Children can really be an eye-opening experience,” said Ellie Grammas, an eighth-grader who is president of the Culver student council.
The students learned about a little Kenyan girl named Princess who was so severely undernourished when she was born that her odds of surviving were slim. “It really made me think about how lucky we are, just having nutritious food ourselves. What we did in those two hours may have saved her life and the lives of many others,” Ellie said.
The 20 seventh- and eighth-graders who made the trip are all members of the Culver student council. They were accompanied by three school staff members — student council sponsors Gina Rossi and Helen Lazaris, and assistant principal Oscar Suarez. Two parents, one of whom is a member of the Niles District 71 school board, also participated.
Although the student council has always done its share of fundraising, the representatives wanted to get involved in more hands-on activities.
“This is a very outgoing, service-oriented group, and many of the fundraising activities at Culver School are student-driven,” Rossi said. “This year we had asked for ideas about community service projects and Ellie Grammas suggested Feed My Starving Children because she had volunteered there with a church group. It turned out to be a great experience and we hope to do it again.”
After an orientation, the Culver students spent two hours putting together meals of vitamin-enriched rice, dried vegetables and other nonperishable food items, then boxing them up and preparing them for shipment to Kenya. “It was like an assembly line,” Rossi said. “They were on their feet packing for two hours. One student said, ‘This is what it must be like to have real job.’” Altogether they packed 82 boxes containing more than 17,000 meals.
Ellie said, “There is a quote by Denzel Washington: ‘At the end of the day, it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished. … It’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.’ I think that quote inspired the whole group who took part in this experience and I am proud of everyone who did try to make this world a better place by lifting up those in need.”