Some Chatsworth students recently learned how through their own efforts they could make a difference to those in need both near home and far away.
Noreen Borom’s third grade class at Chatsworth Avenue School in Larchmont spent a month studying the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force earlier this year with the help of retired Chatsworth teacher Naomi Gams. Among other things, they learned that there are needy families in their own community, not just in far-off parts of the world.
In mid-January, they held a tag sale in their classroom – selling baked goods, crafts and second-hand toys – and raised over $1,000 in small change and dollar bills thanks to the generosity of their fellow students.
But then the devastating earthquake hit Haiti on January 12. And as they learned more about the tragedy unfolding there, they were torn: should they stick to their original plan and give the money to the Food Pantry or send it to Haiti instead?
It was “a hard decision,” one child said. They did some research, talked about it in class, and took a vote – and the majority decided to give the money to the Red Cross to support relief efforts in Haiti.
One of the third graders, Abigail Winters, discussed her class’s difficult decision with her family. She was sad that the money was not going to the Food Pantry because she knew they needed it too. Her father, Ian Winters, sent out an email to a small circle of friends, relatives and business colleagues to try to match the amount the children had raised. He included information about the Food Pantry that he had gathered from its website.
“The response was absolutely phenomenal,” Mr. Winters said. “All it took was a small spark to get the ball rolling. As the donations came in, I was in contact with Ms. Borom in the classroom. The children were ecstatic. ‘Look what we did! Look what we started!’ they said.”
“In a short time we were able to almost triple the amount the children had originally raised,” Mr. Winters said. “I sent a check to the Food Pantry in honor of Abigail’s class and Noreen Borom.”
Melinda Lehman, the president of the Food Pantry, visited Ms. Borom’s class to thank them for their hard work and generosity. “As you showed, every little bit adds up and makes a difference,” Ms. Lehman told the class.
“I was so impressed by the empathy of the children in the class, and by Ms. Borom’s willingness to make time for her students to learn about and support the Food Pantry,” Ms. Lehman explained after her visit. “What an empowering message to the children, that they can make a difference at such a young age – regardless of where the proceeds were donated.”
“It was a great lesson for all of us,” Mr. Winters said, “about how through your own good deeds you can empower others to do good deeds. It’s been a wonderful project and a wonderful experience for everyone.”
For more information about the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Food Pantry, visit www.lmfoodpantry.org.