Those who think the kids of today are worthless and uncaring might have to arm-wrestle the fourth-graders at Park View Elementary.
When they heard about a way they could help others, they decided to do something about it in a big way.
It didn’t hurt that one of their classmates was Christian Armstrong, the son of Bob and Kristi Armstrong and brother of Lindsey.
The Armstrongs have started The Family Kitchen, a mission to help feed those in need from around the area.
Christian’s presence, along with the volunteer work at the school by Kristi and Lindsey, inspired an idea in fourth-grade teacher Kelly Fox.
“Christian is in my class and I’ve been very close to the family,” Fox said.
She said her students have been talking about ways they could make a difference.
“They think at their age they can’t do it,” Fox said. “So, I told Kristi I want to prove to them they can do it.”
With that, the project began two weeks ago to involve the students in preparing sack lunches to be distributed by Family Kitchen.
Recently, the three fourth-grade classes were able to gather enough food to double their goal of 300 sack lunches.
Along with her teaching colleagues, Holly Edwards and Sara Weatherford, they organized a production line in the school cafeteria.
And, to paraphrase the Scriptures, “... a child shall feed them.”
“Everything that is here was brought in, or the money to purchase was done by the kids and their families,” Fox said.
She gave an example of the enthusiasm the students had for wanting to help others.
“I had a student get off the bus this morning and said, ‘I told my mom I’m not feeling good, but I wasn’t going to miss today. I wanted to be here today,’” Fox said. “That’s what this is all about. They were asking at 7:30 this morning when we would begin.
“It’s not because they wanted to get out of class. It’s because they really wanted to do this.”
The effort by the students does play a part in being well-rounded in their studies.
“It does involve reading and mostly social studies,” Fox said. “We’ve talked about being part of your community, about government, where your taxes go and about people who are less fortunate than us.”
They had read about kids their age who made inventions they now sell and learned people their age can indeed achieve great things.
Lindsey gave a “pregame pep talk” to all three of the classes before they cleaned their hands and put on the sanitary gloves for food preparation.
“You’re not too young to help make a difference,” Lindsey told the students. “You don’t have to be 16 or 18. You don’t have to be an adult. You can obviously do something now because you have done something amazing.”
Kristi held back emotions as she surveyed the students filling the tables with sack lunches.
“I hope I don’t start crying,” she said. “It warms my heart because I know there are some of the kids here that probably need some of these lunches. And, to see them bring in something they might really need for themselves just really gets to me.”
She said watching the students packing the sacks “with smiles on their faces” was more than she could put into words, except for one — “overwhelmed.”
“They are so loving and giving anyway,” she said. “I think it makes it exciting to think how much this generation will do if they carry this on into adulthood.”
The Park View project was such a success, Kristi said there is a possibility more students will be given the chance in the future to show that, like these fourth-graders, no one is ever too young to make a difference.