Student effort aids work to end hunger

From left, third graders Clara Mandt, Hailey Volkart and Noah Schlechter help with the cause. (Staff photo by Todd Moen)

The theme of Watertown-Mayer Elementary School this year is “The Power of One.”
School officials want their students to recognize how they can make an impact everywhere around them. For the last five years, the school has collected between 3,000 and 4,000 pounds of food every fall for Friends For Life Food Shelf in Watertown, an effort that was repeated as a local community service project this fall.
After that food drive, officials decided to attempt a global service project that also focused on providing food.
“Many of our kids have packaged meals at Feed My Starving Children in Chanhassen and they love the experience,” noted Gail Singsank, a fifth grade teacher at Watertown-Mayer Elementary School. “I had heard about Kids Against Hunger and their mobile meal-packing events. I thought it would be perfect for all of our kids to experience meal-packing here in our own school.”
During the month of January and first week of February, the school raised almost $5,500 for Kids Against Hunger. The organization asked the school to set a goal of $10 per student to cover the ingredients and other costs of bringing a mobile meal-packing event to our school.
“We knew that we would have about 500 kids packing meals, so we set a school-wide goal of $5,000. We beat that goal!” Singsank said.
Approximately 500 students in grades 2-5 packed meals during the event, which was held in 20-minute shifts from 9:20 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 19. First grade students got in on the fun, as well, decorating boxes and bags for the meals to be packed in. In addition, every student listened to a presentation by Kids Against Hunger staff members about the problem of global hunger and the importance of helping others in need and tasted a sample meal before they packed (meals consist of rice, soy, vegetables and chicken powder).
The student packed 4,068 bags of food in 113 boxes, amounting to 24,408 meals.
“We also brought in the gymnastics team to pack meals for a shift to thank them for raising $341 at a home gymnastics meet during the Royal Week of Giving in January,” Singsank noted. “Koch Bus Company graciously donated a bus to get them back and forth from the high school so that they could be a part of this event.”
To learn more about Kids Against Hunger, visit