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January 18, 2011 / HandsOnCorps

Service-Learning in Queens

The students at Public School 273 in Ozone Park, Queens are giving back to their community! On Friday, January 14th, students, educators and parents participated in a food drive at a local soup kitchen.

This project was set into motion when Larissa Cole, a service-learning coach from PS 273, looked around her neighborhood and found a church/soup kitchen located around the corner from the school. After going into the soup kitchen and asking if the school could help, she discovered the the weekly soup kitchen held at this church is the largest in Queens. Every Saturday over a thousand people show up to this tiny church to pick up the raw materials to make meals – canned goods, bread, sugar, flour, and so on. 80 volunteers regularly help out with packaging and distributing food, but even with so much assistance the crowd of people can be overwhelming.

With this in mind, not only did the students (and parents) of PS 273 collect roughly 160 items of dry goods and deliver them to the food pantry, but they also helped to pre-package the giant assortment of bread that had been delivered that morning. At the end of the service project, they had packed about 85 bags of bread with the help of about 12 members of the school’s staff, 11 parents, and all 96 pre-K and Kindergarten students of PS 273. What’s more, the Principle, Brenda Ward, is working on creating a sustained relationship with this food pantry, hoping that the students can go and help with bread packaging once a month.

The students learned about food security using the lesson, “Meeting Our Daily Needs” from Learning to Give. See Learning to givegenerationOn and Kids Care Clubs for more great service-learning resources, including curricula, toolkits and lesson plans.

-Myranda Hunter
Teacher Service Leader Corps Member
AmeriCorps National Direct


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