GHS Students Helping Students - Meals to Grow Program
Gilbert High School Students Donate 500 Food Bags to Thew Students Every Week
Posted on 11/08/2018
Gilbert High School Students Donate 500 Food Bags to Thew Elementary Students Each WeekArticle and photo courtesy of Gabrielle Olson, Strategic Communication Coordinator, Tempe Elementary School District

It’s now the season of giving, but Gilbert High School students have been working hard at giving back all year to students of Thew Elementary School. Thanks to a partnership with Matthew’s Food Crossing, Just Serve Organization, and Winco Foods, Gilbert High School is committed to providing weekly food bags for all 500 of Thew Elementary students this school year!

The weekend can be tough on kids who rely on meals that they receive from school. The Meals to Grow Program, initiated by Matthew’s Food Crossing, distributes food bags to children in need of food for the weekend. Each food bag has enough food for two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and a variety of snacks. 

Beginning in August, Gilbert High School’s Meals to Grow Program has already served 6,000 food bags to Thew Elementary students!

Intervention Specialist Robert Ramos has been leading the effort in student involvement for the Meals to Grow Program at Gilbert High School. Every Tuesday, Ramos organizes tables with donated food items in an assembly line fashion so that students can come and go as they wish during their lunch hour to help pack bags for distribution. Parent volunteers are also there to help assist students with the packing process, as well as deliver the bags to Thew Elementary so that they may go home with students on Friday afternoon. 

“I just love watching the students come and go to help pack food bags,” said Ramos. “It’s rewarding to see students return each week to help out.”

Kim Corder, community engagement coordinator of Matthew’s Food Bank, also loves seeing Gilbert High students help out every Tuesday. Corder played a fundamental role in receiving funding for food donations so that the Meals to Grow Program for Thew Elementary students can be sustained throughout the year. 
Meals to Grow Gilbert High School

“It’s just inspiring to see students helping students,” said Corder. “It’s a real ‘Do It Yourself’ process and an excellent service opportunity for our students. They’re going to change the world!”

When asked about the impact these food bags have had for the Thew Elementary community, Principal Marissa Schneckloth had nothing but glowing reviews. 

“Thew is very fortunate to have an amazing community to help provide opportunities for our kids,” said Schneckloth. “The Meals to Grow program is an essential program to our students who need food during the weekend. The program helps to feed their stomach, and their brain, so that our kids are ready for learning on Monday!”
Gilbert High School students packing food bags for Thew Elementary in Tempe
Although the line is open for Gilbert High students to come and go as they please, many students have become regulars – some even spend their entire lunch hour on Tuesday packing food bags! Gilbert High Seniors Jacob Diemer, Isaiah Jefferies, and Scott “Bucky” Drake are just a few of these students. 

“When you think about it, all you do at lunch is eat so why not help other kids who can’t afford to eat,” said Drake. 

“Both of my parents work to give back to our community, so I feel inspired by them to come and help give back to Thew students every Tuesday at my school,” added Diemer.
Gilbert High School students packing food bags for Thew Elementary in Tempe

“It’s really become a habit!” said Jefferies. “It feels good to be here and do something to help other kids during lunch hour.”

Thank you to the staff, parents, and students of Gilbert High School and the employees and volunteers of Matthew’s Food Crossing for your generous service to Thew Elementary this school year! 

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