LAKEWOOD RANCH — Children at Primrose School at Lakewood Ranch ushered in the holiday spirit Nov. 19 with a special field trip to the grocery store.
Armed with money they had earned doing chores and a grocery list they came up with themselves, nearly 30 kindergarten students headed into the Publix on Market Street in Lakewood Ranch for some serious shopping.
Teachers each led groups of about six children, who clung to the side of the cart as their instructor steered them to their items of choice and then let them pick out their own pastas, canned goods and other items from the shelves.
“I like it,” student Vanessa Richtfort said of shopping to help others. “I like holding the cart and picking out the food.”
Paige McElyea, agreed, adding she helped wash the dishes, among other tasks, to raise money for food, which benefited the Community Coalition on Homelessness.
“It’s nice because you help people,” she said.
Primrose owner Sharon Frank said all 170 children at Primrose participated in the project — collecting nearly 1,000 food items in total — but only the kindergarten students did chores to earn a total of $137. Primrose matched that amount for last week’s shopping adventure, allowing them to buy 207 non-perishable items.
“It gives them a true hands on experience of what it means to help others in need,” Frank said. “They worked for this money. They counted the money. They made (the decisions).
The Community Coalition on Homelessness visited the preschool to pick donated goods Nov. 23.
Goddard family launches food drive
As the holidays approached, Jessica Kruse knew there would be a valuable lesson in store for her 4-year-old son, Alexander, who attends The Goddard School in Lakewood Ranch. And so, she and her child set to work, organizing a canned food drive at the preschool.
“I thought the public schools do food drives every year, so we need to do a food drive,” Kruse said.
For the last few weeks, children at Goddard have been collecting non-perishable food items in their classrooms, where the effort has turned into an academic learning opportunity as well as for lessons in life.
“Doing a food drive is teaching them a whole bunch of stuff — math, community, sharing,” Kruse said, adding she’s taken her son to family and friends asking for donations. “I think it’s important to do things for other people. This way they are giving back.”
Representatives of Publix came by the school Nov. 19 to pick up 927 food items. The donations went toward the Manatee County School District’s Stuff the Bus Campaign, which had school buses stationed at various Publix stores Nov. 20-21 to collect food items.
“A lot of the kids that go to Goddard are very fortunate and have things that not all children have,” Kruse said. “We went ahead and created a curriculum (around the drive) to teach the kids about other parts of the community that don’t necessarily have the resources to have (all the things our kids have).”
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].