Posted by boston.com October 31, 2013 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by Laurie Mistretta:
Many Melrose families won’t be gathering around their tables to share a meal with their loved ones this Thanksgiving. For some families, hunger is a daily challenge. There are struggling children, families, seniors, and veterans—our neighbors—in need and that’s why Roosevelt Elementary School is helping out during this time of giving. We can make a hungry family’s holiday even more special by giving food.
On Saturday, November 2, from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., third-graders from the Roosevelt Elementary School here in Melrose will be holding a food drive at the Shaw's in Melrose. This event is part of a larger food drive project sponsored by the third-graders, including an in-school collection this week and a tour (for the kids) of a food pantry on Friday, November 1 (4:30 p.m., Servant's Heart Food Pantry – Faith Evangelical Church, 200 Franklin St. Melrose). This food drive is the first of what we hope will be many public service activities at Roosevelt this school year, as part of the Roosevelt Gives Back initiative. Last year, the school spent a lot of time raising money for a new playground— a gift to the kids. This year, we decided the kids should learn more about giving to others.
Roosevelt Gives Back is an initiative this school year to show gratitude throughout our community for the gracious efforts last year to fund our school playground. The City of Melrose government and businesses; Amazing Grace Golf Tournament and Zinck family; Roosevelt Elementary School PTO (PTO); and Roosevelt staff, families, and friends all contributed to making our school playground a reality. Most notably, our students were incredibly engaged in the Pennies for the Playground effort; therefore, it is our goal to continue the momentum in helping them to find ongoing opportunities for philanthropy, charity, and volunteerism.
Danielle Champoux Bohnke, parent and co-president of the PTO, explains that the PTO is facilitating student involvement with our room parents by incorporating Roosevelt Gives Back through existing activities such as classroom parties. The room parents, students, and staff may explore personal interests, as well as curriculum topics, to determine which local or national organizations they wish to assist. For example, with the third-grade food pantry drive, the students are studying the Pilgrims and have a field trip planned to Plimoth Plantation in November. The act by the first settlers and natives of sharing food and resources through the spirit of Thanksgiving spurred the idea to organize a food pantry drive and, at that, host it school- and city-wide. It has become a teachable moment on many levels.
The spirit of Roosevelt Gives Back will also be reflected through internal efforts to provide more low-cost family events, as well as address staff needs. “We kick-started the school year with a Welcome Back Pizza Slush Party, a free celebration to all in our school community and are planning movie and game nights in the near future. Kris Rodolico, parent, artist and owner of Follow Your Art, 416 Main Street, Melrose, has also assisted in creating an inspiring Roosevelt Giving Tree in our school lobby where staff place their needs on a paper pieces of fruit for generous ‘pickers’ to take,” states Joanne Kimball-Sherman, teacher and co-president of the PTO.
“With the food drive, we wanted to go beyond just having the kids donate a can or a box of something. Let's face it, that's mostly the parents doing! That's why we added in the collection at Shaw's (34 Essex St. Melrose), where kids will be "manning" the table and handing out homemade ‘thank you’ bookmarks that they are making next week at their classroom Halloween parties. That's also why we jumped at the chance to have a tour of Servant's Heart, so that the kids can see where their donations go and why it's important to help” explains Lory Hough, parent and Food Drive chair.
As president, Theodore Roosevelt considered himself a "steward of the people." It is our desire that this be the start of a natural inclination for all of us to be good stewards, exhibiting positive character traits such as respect, caring, responsibility, and good citizenship.