“Help stop hunger in this world because even a little person can make a big difference. It makes people happy!” – Leslie*, 4th grade at Roxhill Elementary.
In honor of November’s Hunger Awareness month, City Year corps members on the JPMorgan Chase Team at Roxhill Elementary have been working hard to lead students in a month long campaign exploring the issue of hunger in our world.
Every morning during Homework Club, students in all grade levels studied the topic of hunger using math, reading, and writing skills. Older students solved challenging word problems using statistics related to the hunger crisis, while younger students were asked to draw a picture of what we can do to help stop hunger.
After learning some shocking statistics on hunger, students looked concerned and began writing down their burning questions. “Why are the young so hungry?” (Crystal*-5th grade). “How many people die of hunger a day?” (Jimmy*-4th grade).
Perhaps the most impactful initiative by corps members at Roxhill was a school-wide essay writing contest. Students were asked to thoughtfully and creatively respond to this prompt: “Why do you think having enough food is important? And what are some ways we can help stop hunger?” Over 65 essays were submitted, and two students from each grade level were selected to read their essay at the Empty Bowls Banquet, the capstone event of our hunger campaign.
Roxhill’s first Empty Bowls Banquet took place on the evening of December 1st. Students, faculty, and families graciously joined City Year for a simple bowl of soup and bread. All of the students at Roxhill thoughtfully decorated the bowls used during the banquet. These bowls served as a powerful statement–our bowls are full tonight but there are still empty bowls around the world.
After overcoming some initial jitters, winners of our essay contest excitedly read their essays on stage, as families smiled with pride, impressed by the maturity and compassion demonstrated by the young scholars. It was a chance for students to not only think carefully about a global issue, but to form an opinion and have their voices heard. Here are some ideas our Roxhill Stars came up with to fight hunger around the world:
“Why do stores throw away their leftover food in the garbage? They can give food to people that don’t have food.” (Maria*-2nd Grade)
“If people stop starting wars, we can end world hunger. So all the money we spend in wars is how much we could spend to end world hunger. If we end world hunger, everyone is happy.” (Juancarlos*-4th grade)
With the help of City Year corps members from all over Seattle and the support of the Roxhill faculty, our Empty Bowls Banquet could not have gone any better. The Roxhill community truly resembled one giant family as we all celebrated a month of learning, and reflected upon what we have to be thankful for. Hunger is a serious problem, but corps members and students at Roxhill have shown that there are many ways we can make a difference in our communities.
*Students’ names were changed to protect their identity.