Donning hairnets and face masks in the middle school gym on Friday morning, the Veritas Christian Academy students looked more like pint-sized cafeteria workers instead of classmates. But they wore the protective layers for a good reason.
Together, the students were assembling 10,000 meal packets to feed orphans in Haiti.
Each food packet contains rice, dehydrated vegetables, soy protein and a vitamin powder. Once water is added, each packet can feed up to six people, said school organizers.
“This fundraiser matches the mission of our school: to equip our students to serve,” said Katie Perez, administrative assistant to the superintendent at Veritas Christian Academy. “This is how we love others, by serving,” she said.
The program, called Feed The Need through The Champion Group, was launched as a school-wide fundraiser. Each Veritas student was encouraged to ask sponsors to donate towards the purchase of the food staples and help pay for the shipping to the Caribbean nation.
Haiti is known as a Third World country and has a high rate of poverty.
On Friday morning, seventh grader Jordan Washington helped scoop rice at an assembly station.
“We have food here” in Napa and our homes, said Washington. But, “There’s a whole bunch of people in Haiti” that need these meals, he said.
Seventh grader Miranda Grigsby worked at another station scooping dehydrated protein into a funnel for packaging. She chose to participate in the fundraiser “because I want to help.” Those orphans “don’t have what we have,” she said.
“It’s good to help,” said seventh grader Hannah Kaczmarczyk. “It makes you sad” to think of the orphans, she said. “You just want to help them.”
“I feel happy” to be working on the fundraiser, said Jacob Darlington, a third grader. Would he enjoy the meal he was preparing? Maybe not the rice, he said. “But I would eat the rest of it.”
“We’re helping other people because God wants us to,” said James Taber, a third grader. What if the rice and protein mix was his own dinner? “It’d be OK if it was cooked,” he said.
School parent Leslie Larsen helped the kids assemble the packets.
“It’s heartwarming that we’re sending so many meals” to those in need, said Larsen. “Look what these kids can do.”
Besides the food packets, other Veritas students decorated the cardboard shipping boxes and made cards to include with the packets. The school hopes to get photos of the orphans who actually receive the food, said Perez.
For a first-time fundraiser, Perez said the program has been a success.
“It feels really good” to be able to provide so many meals. Besides that, the students are learning about the people in Haiti and how they can help those in need, said the school’s administrative assistant.
Veritas Christian Academy has two campuses in Napa — an elementary school at 2659 First St. and a middle school at 3765 Solano Ave.
The school has 116 students, from kindergarten to eighth grades, said Perez.
You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 256-2218 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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