SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Lily Allis holds the microphone as she and some of her peers sit in front of the whole school body on a Tuesday. “Welcome to Central School’s 14th annual 100th Day of Giving!” the third-grader says firmly. “We are excited and proud to support the South Berwick Food Pantry and End 68 Hours of Hunger. This year we collected 2,336 items.”
The gymnasium floor is covered with food and personal health items from each class forming different designs with the items — a peace sign of ketchup bottles, a tower of paper towels, and a heart of toothpaste tubes. These are just a few examples of the donations as students sit around them with excitement in the air and smiles on their faces.
Third-grade teacher Pam Mulcahey remembers when the program started 14 years ago and talks about the evolution. “We decided to give more ownership to the students this year. Two students from each third grade visited the food pantry and learned about End 68 Hours of Hunger. They are the leaders and they take their job very seriously.”
Speaking to some of the third-graders about their visit, “It was cool,” says Damien Richardson. “I didn’t even know about that place (food pantry) until then, so I got to learn new things, and I like to learn. I feel bad for them (the hungry) because they can’t take care of themselves and need help, but it feels great to help people.” Other third-graders who wait to present an overview to the school jump in with agreement.
After listening to their third-grade comrades talk about this year’s 100 days of giving, many kids cheer with approval as food pantry representative Dave Stansfield and End 68 Hours of Hunger’s Trisha Foster approach the microphone.
“Please give yourselves a big round of applause for all the hard work and good things you have done here,” says Foster. “We can’t thank you enough.”