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Elementary Students Bring Nutrition to a Community of Older Mainers

By Laura Gordon, Service-Learning Specialist

Katahdin Elementary School was the Food Bank’s first pilot elementary school to finish our new service-learning program. The school’s after-school program, taught by Gail Pocock, began its service-learning program at the beginning of the year. They engaged in learning activities to learn more about food insecurity within their community. Gail shared, “The materials offered allowed me to pick and choose based on the abilities of the students. The stories are extremely impactful and also offered diversity. Exposing children to diversity in literature was wonderful.”

As the students participated in the learning activities, they explored possible ideas for a service-learning project. They helped at their school’s food distribution, a partnership with the Food Bank, and noticed that it was attended primarily by elderly community members. The students decided to deliver the food to them. The after-school program worked with their school’s Food Corps members to identify a recipe that would work with the time they had and would be a nutritious meal. They decided on chicken soup and bread since it is an all-inclusive meal.

The students at Katahdin Elementary started their project the week before April vacation. They spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday preparing the vegetables for the soup. On Wednesday, the students made the rolls. On Thursday, the group delivered the soups and rolls to a community of older Mainers in Patten. Their efforts were well received, and they received a thank-you note from a gentleman who resided in the community. The residents were also excited to have conversations with the group.

A total of 12 students helped with the preparations, and two students went to deliver with one staff. The class made enough meals to deliver to 15 people. Gail Pocock and the students hope to launch more opportunities to continue supporting the community through food and socialization in the upcoming school year.

When asked, “What is one thing that you learned about hunger in your community?” a student shared, “One thing I learned is that anyone can be hungry; it doesn’t matter your age. I learned that is why we have the food come to our school, so people who are hungry can come and get some food.” Another student added, “We liked preparing and cooking the chicken soup. The bread-making was fun. Next time can we have a bus so more of us can go deliver?”

Are you interested in introducing the Food Bank’s service-learning program to your school? Contact us at for more information or learn more about our programming at