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When it comes to the issue of hunger and lack of access to proper nutrition, students at Greenway School know it isn't just a third-world problem; hunger can hit close to home, even right here in Winnipeg.
The school held a special Empty Bowls fundraiser earlier this spring, in support of Winnipeg Harvest. The fundraising supper featured student entertainment and a showcase/auction of student-made clay bowls.
The bowls are meant to remain empty for their lifespan.
"The sculptures are to remind us of the people out there that have an empty bowl," said Grade 3/4 teacher Sarah Claassen.
Ms. Claassen added that the event was part of the school's ongoing work with The Jane Goodall Institute of Canada's Roots & Shoots program. The program supports and encourages schools to undertake action projects in their communities.
"The students were asked to come up with a project that helped people, animals or the environment…so they chose people," Ms. Claassen said.
"We read a story at the beginning of the year, Ruby's Hope by Hannah Taylor," said Grade 2 teacher Cindy Jose. "We talked about Hannah because she is from Winnipeg and looked at the things she has done to help people. From there it snowballed and expanded. The kids started bringing in their own ideas on how to help people."
After holding a food drive for Winnipeg Harvest earlier in the year, as well as volunteering at the organization, students already knew of the support it provides to needy people in the community.
"Some people in the world don't have enough food to eat," said Grade 2 student Maxine Aguilar. "Winnipeg Harvest helps people get the food that they need when they don't have enough money. You can stand up and lend a hand."
Students were heavily involved with organizing the event. They wrote to local businesses to help gather food for the fundraising meal, as well as garnering support for Winnipeg Harvest.
"Students did a lot of writing, they wrote copious amounts of letters to local businesses," Ms. Claassen said.
Tall Grass Prairie Bread, Sleepy Owl Bakery, Foodfare, Save-On Foods, Starbucks, Real Canadian Superstore, Canada Safeway, Sargent Sundae and Dairy Queen all donated to the cause.
The school ultimately raised $476 for Winnipeg Harvest, as well as another sizeable food donation.
"We're really proud to be helping Winnipeg Harvest," said student Matea Thiessen Unger. "We can make a difference if we team up and work together."
Students said they were happy to achieve their Roots and Shoots goal.
"We just want to make the world a better place for everybody," said student Nasri Ahmed.