Tackling international humanitarian isses, like hunger, environmental destruction and violence can seem like an impossible task.
But the daunting nature of those complex problems hasn't stopped the students and staff of Eagan's Northview Elementary School.
This year, Northview will be partnering with Impact Lives, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit, to raise money to purchase food supplies, which will then be packed by school volunteers and shipped to people in need across the globe. The school-wide, all-day food packing event will be held on March 15.
This is the third time Northview has hosted Impact Lives, an organization that seeks to facilitate cultural understanding and humanitarian aid for impoverished people.
Northview Vice Principal Becky Hanson, who has helped lead and organize the event since its inception, said the school's fundraising goal this year is $8,500. That's enough money to purchase more than 40,000 meals for needy families. Once prepared, those food packs will likely be sent to assist humanitarian efforts in Haiti.
Because the amount of food packed is contingent on how much money the school raises, fundraising is key. At the beginning of the year, each student is challenged to raise $15 through individual projects like lemonade stands or coin drives. As the year progresses more projects take shape, including a t-shirt contest and a waffle breakfast.
The waffle breakfast has been especially successful—in the past raising roughly $2,000 alone, Hanson said. With more than a month left before the meal packing event, the school is only $500 short of its goal.
The other equally important goal of the project is to instill in students important personal values, especially empathy.
"There is nothing more powerful in teaching this core value [than] by having students actually do something that gives to others. Students become leaders in this experience. They make posters, sell suckers, create artwork…..and then they actually pack the food," Hanson said.
Third-grader Ramira Ambrose is one such student.
So far this year, she has helped to create a submission for a t-shirt logo, a website to promote the event, and, with her class, a poster advertising the waffle breakfast fundraiser.
"It helps people in need, it also makes us glad because we care for others," Ambrose said. "We help because some people can’t afford food."
Ambrose isn't the only student at the school who got into the giving spirit this year. Another Northview student was saving up to purchase a new video game console, but decided to put off purchasing the gadget and donated his money to the event, Hanson said.
"I was blown away by this 8-year-old boy and his giving heart," Hanson said.