By Laura Gordon, Service-Learning Specialist
At the beginning of 2023, Nokomis Regional Middle School’s Wellness Club began its service-learning journey. The students and co-facilitators, Yvonne Perry and Kelly Fitts, partnered with Good Shepherd Food Bank of Maine to pilot a new service-learning program developed by the Food Bank. The materials introduced what a service-learning project entails, with activities for students to learn about a real-world problem, develop their solution, and work with a community partner to achieve results. Nokomis’ Wellness Club engaged in activities to learn more about food insecurity and why some of our neighbors experience hunger.
The Nokomis Wellness Club students were particularly interested in food waste and how it relates to food insecurity and investigated how they could reduce food waste in their own schools. From this, they invited the district’s food service director to visit. He is retiring soon but was thrilled to meet with the students, learn their concerns, and listen to suggestions. The students felt empowered that an administrator listened to their suggestions and may take action based on their recommendations.
After meeting with the food service director, the club decided they wanted to share what they had learned with their fellow students. They chose to develop and create a bulletin board close to the cafeteria to share why students need to reduce food waste. The bulletin board is at an ideal location because every student passes by the board to get to the cafeteria.
The board features catchy phrases about food waste, such as “Don’t yuck my yum”, “It’ll leave a bad taste to waste”, and “Pledge to eat more fruits and veggies.” The students devised about 12 catchphrases and put about eight on the board to promote the food program.
Two students shared their experience in the service-learning program and what was most impactful to them:
Lenox B: “I enjoyed talking about situations in other countries.”
Katherine H: “Not everyone is able to get their next meal, and they don’t know when they will get their next meal.”
Are you interested in introducing the Food Bank’s service-learning program to your school? Contact us at Service-Learning@GSFB.org for more information or to learn more about our programming visit www.hungereducation.org.