Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts has experienced the largest relative increase of food-insecure individuals in the nation. The percentage of households experiencing food insecurity in the state skyrocketed from 8.4% of households pre-pandemic to 17.5% of households as of November 2020. TCA Religion Teacher Andrea Hurm thought her middle school students could do something to address this problem for local families.
“I’ve always instilled a sense of service into my students,” said Hurm. After brainstorming with Head of School Dr. Jennifer Roy, “we decided that our mission for 2020-2021 would be to help those who are experiencing hardships, whether temporary or not, within our community,” Hurm continued.
To fulfill that mission, they decided to hold a series food drives throughout the academic year to benefit the Charity Guild in Brockton. They waited until after Thanksgiving to hold their first food drive, knowing that food banks receive many donations around the holidays but are often depleted afterwards.
“All of the students, families, faculty, and staff have been overwhelmingly generous with each drive,” Hurm said. In addition to collecting nonperishable food, they have also received and bought gift cards for local restaurants and supermarkets. During one drive, they collected hundreds of dollars, and after consulting the Charity Guild, they used the money to buy gift cards for a nearby grocery store.
The grade eight students took charge of the most recent food drive. They had a contest to design the flyer advertising it, went to each homeroom to collect food, sorted the donations, and loaded them into vehicles for delivery.
Hurm said that the eighth graders “responded beautifully to the challenge. I believe that these are our leaders of the future. If you give them the responsibility, then they’re going to make things happen,” she said.