Last year, when we were in fifth grade, we created the Full-Belly Food Drive to help fight hunger in our community of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. We knew there were people who didn’t have enough to eat, so we wanted to do something to help. Our Moms were very supportive but told us we had to create something “manageable” that we could really get behind and do on our own.
We wanted to learn more about hunger in our area, so we did some research and then contacted our local food pantry to see what types of food they needed most (cereal, canned fruits, vegetables, etc.). The information we gathered was used later to make fliers promoting the Full-Belly Food Drive.
We still weren’t sure exactly how the food drive would work, so we brainstormed some ideas and decided to collect food during trick-or-treat. Our neighborhood is large, though, and we were worried we wouldn’t be able to get to every house so we asked our teachers and our principal if we could ask classmates to help. They said “yes” and the Full-Belly Food Drive was born.
After presenting the idea to our classes, we made a sign-up sheet of everybody who wanted to help. We gave each person fliers with a description of the food drive so they could get their parents’ permission to collect food during trick-or-treat. If the parents said yes, we gave the student different fliers to distribute to their neighbors and on their block asking people to donate food.
Approximately 25 classmates helped us and together we collected 1,000 items of food! At first we weren’t sure if the Full-Belly Food Drive would be a success, but when we got to the first house on Halloween night, there was a huge bag of food waiting for us! Pretty soon, our Moms had to go and get their cars and vans to help us empty our wagons and make room for more food.
The weekend after Halloween, we delivered the food to the Tosa Food Pantry. When we got there, volunteers were waiting with carts to help us unload our cars and bring in the donations. Next, people started following us out of the building to our cars to help bring in the bags. We asked our Moms who they were. When they told us they were the people who would be getting the donated food, we were very happy to meet them and see how hard work can help others.
By keeping the food drive simple in the first year, we learned how we can make it bigger and better in the future.