There’s not much excitement to be found in an elementary school during the week of ISTEP testing, much less over being asked to donate canned goods  when most of your students struggle with hunger themselves. But School #19  came through in a big way when challenged to participate in a food drive during Global Youth Service Day this past April.They collected over 600 cans! It was all part of The Salvation Army Indiana’s introduction of The Bite Back Brigade – an initiative to fight back against hunger.

I visited the school just before lunchtime this morning, as they were enjoying their reward of having extra gym time and taking turns jumping in our Red Kettle Bounce House. It was heartwarming to hear their squeals and see them so happy, but most appreciated was the gesture of several first grade girls who shyly approached me and whispered “thank you!”

P.E. teacher Julie Herdman was also happy. “I’m just glad that the reward was something to get their energy out. Rather than a movie or a treat, this was good for them.” This fits right along with a portion of the Bite Back Brigade’s mission to not only feed those who are hungry but also to teach more healthy habits which includes fitness.

Organized by second grade teacher Mrs. Davis, the canned food drive, or rather the students’ response exceeded the staff’s expectations. Mrs. Davis initiated contests amongst the classrooms, each of them making posters to inspire the children to donate canned food items. “We ARE the poor. It was a sacrifice for the kids. But they were excited,” said Davis.

Thanks to Mrs. Davis, Julie Herdman, and all the staff and students of IPS School #19 for doing the most good!

If your school or club is interested in joining the Bite Back Brigade or hosting a day with the Red Kettle Bounce House as part of a fundraiser for The Salvation Army and Homelessness Bites – contact Stacy Robinson at (317)224-1047.