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Salt Creek Students Stock the EGV Food Pantry

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A line of kindergarten students stand outside in a long single file line after getting off the school buses, watching the small snowflakes swirling by. Giddy with excitement, they smile and laugh and show their gifts to each other as the line begins to move into the building.

Their presents are not what you might expect: boxes of cereal and Kleenex, rolls of toilet paper, canned soup, and other miscellaneous offerings. The gifts are not for them; they are donations to stock the Elk Grove Food Pantry.

The food pantry, located inside Elk Grove Presbyterian Church, was the destination of a field trip for Salt Creek’s kindergarten students on December 9. Along with teachers Heather Iatomasi, Kaitlin Parrett, and Alicia Leiber, students went to the pantry to see firsthand where their donations go, how the food pantry works, and why it is important to donate.

Students began an instructional unit on needs and wants in November, focusing on taking informed action to help others in need. After discussions, the kindergarteners decided they wanted to help those who may not have all their basic needs met. In addition to their own donations, they collected them from students and staff at Salt Creek school for about a week.

The food pantry had indicated that their strongest need was for facial tissues, toilet paper, and cereal. In total, the Salt Creek kindergarteners collected 142 rolls of toilet paper, 56 boxes of cereal, 38 boxes of facial tissue, and 71 miscellaneous items such as canned meals and diapers.  

“The kids were very excited to help others in need,” Iatomasi said. “They first learned about what they themselves needed and then applied that to helping others. They really wanted to help and enjoyed all the activities connected to the food pantry collection and visit.” The other kindergarten teachers agreed.

The program coordinator, Barbara Singelmann, gave a small tour of the pantry, showed where the food is stored, explained how families come to get food, and praised the students for their generosity. “I’ve never had so many people come all at once to give the food together,” she said, “this is the biggest group I’ve ever had!”

She also fielded questions from students with humor, including when they started asking her about if Santa comes to the food pantry and how he might get in, and laughed at the final question a student offered her:

“Can we sing songs on the bus ride home?”

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