WC’s Car­ing for Kids Club helps lo­cal chil­dren who need ex­tra food

Kent County News - - NEWS -

CHESTERTOWN — It’s Wed­nes­day evening, and the Stu­dent Events Board re­source room looks a lit­tle like a gro­cery store stock­room as about half a dozen stu­dents pull food­stuffs from card­board boxes, stack­ing them neatly on the ta­bles in the cen­ter of the room and count­ing as they go.

Chicken noo­dle soup, tomato soup, ravi­oli, fruit cups, juice boxes, milk boxes, ce­real, mac­a­roni and cheese — all get stacked and counted. And then be­gins the co­or­di­nated bal­let of bag­ging, as the stu­dents cir­cle the ta­ble over and over, fill­ing small back plas­tic bags with one of each item.

“It’s a pretty whirl­wind kind of a thing,” said sopho­more Hanna Flow­ers of the weekly job of the col­lege’s Car­ing for Kids Club in a news re­lease from the col­lege. “You just come in and get stuff done.”

On Fri­day morn­ing, two of the club’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives will de­liver the bags to Mau­reen Ranville, the guid­ance coun­selor at Garnet El­e­men­tary School, who will then dis­trib­ute the pack­ages to stu­dents from pre-kinder­garten through fifth grade who qual­ify for the Week­end Back­pack Pro­gram.

“Right now we have 65 stu­dents on the pro­gram,” Ranville said. “They are free- and re­duced-lunch stu­dents or stu­dents who are home­less ... who have a need for ex­tra food on the week­ends.”

For se­nior Court­ney Vi­cisko, a bi­ol­ogy ma­jor and French mi­nor who is co-pres- ident of Car­ing for Kids, it’s some­thing that she’d never even thought about until she joined the club as a fresh­man.

Now, she said, “It’s be­come some­thing I care so much about.”

“It re­ally puts things into per­spec­tive for peo­ple,” Vi­cisko said. “It’s re­ally hard to wrap your head around the idea that this could even be a prob­lem, that there are kids in Chestertown with­out enough food to eat.”

Ranville said there’s def­i­nitely a need. Garnet has 370 stu­dents, and al­though 65 are signed up for the pro­gram this fall, that num­ber is fre­quently higher. The limit the school can man­age, she said, is 75.

“Most of the kids’ par­ents re­ceive as­sis­tance for food stamps or food as­sis­tance, but this just helps give them ex­tra for the week­end,” she said.

The club co­or­di­nates with the Mary­land Food Pantry, which pro­vides the food. The stu­dents meet to pack that week’s de­liv­ery, also stock- pil­ing bags for the weeks when they are gone over win­ter break. Some­times, the WC stu­dents throw a lit­tle some­thing spe­cial into the bags, like cook­ies or notes.

“It may seem like a small thing,” Vi­cisko said of the back­pack pro­gram, “but it’s a huge deal to the peo­ple it’s help­ing.”

Washington Col­lege stu­dents be­gin sort­ing through food for the Car­ing for Kids Club. The club de­liv­ers food to Garnet El­e­men­tary School where it is dis­trib­uted to stu­dents who qual­ify for the Week­end Back­pack Pro­gram.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHO­TOS

Sopho­mores Jada Aris­tilde, left, and Hanna Flow­ers share a laugh as they fill food bags for Washington Col­lege’s Car­ing for Kids Club.

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