Pawtucket Times

Charter school students donate 100 pounds to city food pantry

- By JONATHAN BISSONNETT­E jbissonnet­te@pawtuckett­

PAWTUCKET – Internatio­nal Charter School fifth-grader Jocelyn Cunha knows how important it is to make someone’s day a little brighter. But to do it by giving them food to ensure they don’t go hungry, she added, is a miracle.

Her classmate, Katelyn deMelo, added that helping others means a lot to her, saying “it just feels nice to make the world a better place.” Yet another fifth-grade student, Finlay Braga, added that she was made happy by giving to those in need because she knew the role she and her classmates played over the past few weeks have “made someone’s life better.”

This group of students at the Pawtucket-based internatio­nal baccalaure­ate school have been participat­ing in a food drive over the past two weeks. Their efforts have led to more than 100 pounds of non-perishable foods being collected in nearly 20 boxes, with an additional 18 boxes in front of classrooms throughout the school as of Thursday afternoon.

The donation drive is an exhibition, the school’s version of a senior project, as part of the “100th day of school challenge,” to explore world hunger, according to Connie Walinski, a math and reading support teacher. Fourteen students in Analisa Pereira’s fifth-grade class are leading the charge and the boxes of nourishing food will be collected by the Salvation Army next Tuesday before being delivered to its Pawtucket food pantry, Walinski said.

The three students who took the lead on the project were Alex Anselmo, Gabriela Neves, and Lexi Medeiros.

Assistant Director Rosa

DeVarona said the students were “very excited” to participat­e, as this offered them an opportunit­y to work independen­tly and tackle issues of nationwide significan­ce. In addition to ensuring no one goes hungry, students at the school are also addressing the issue of homelessne­ss, by learning about the struggles of others.

“They’re into knowledge and empathy … It helps because they’re exposed to being global thinkers,” DeVarona said.

Among the food collected over the past few weeks included corn, beans, tuna fish, pasta and sauce, cereal, peanut butter, juice, soups, and cake batter.

Director Julie Nora said the fifth-graders are learning about issues and taking needed steps to solve problems that have regional and global appeal and importance. By doing so, she

said, the children are making a difference in their community.

“It’s really important to develop a caring community. We definitely see how they’re learning through the exhibition and on a daily basis … They’ve been phenomenal,” Nora said.

Fifth-grader Evelyse Martinez showed that Nora’s faith in them has been well placed, saying “I learned this helps a lot of people. We’re getting a lot out of this – a lot of knowledge about the challenges of hunger itself.”

Iago Santos, a fellow classmate, added: “With 100 percent participat­ion, everyone donates. We’re giving food to people who can’t afford it.”

The students in Analisa Pereira’s fifth-grade class are: Alex Anselmo, Finlay Braga, Jocelyn Cunha, Henrique Daveiga, Katelyn deMelo, Libasse Gadiaga, Colin Jeryzk, Na’imah Lopes, Evelyse Martinez, Lexi Medeiros, Gabriela Neves, Carolina Sanots, Iago Santos, and Ava Silva.

 ?? Photo by Jonathan BIssonnett­e ?? Fifth-grade students from Internatio­nal Charter School in Pawtucket.
Photo by Jonathan BIssonnett­e Fifth-grade students from Internatio­nal Charter School in Pawtucket.

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