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Feeding local kids

Many Duluth Public School classrooms and student organizations took a bite out of local hunger in the third annual "Feeding Local Kids" drive throughout October. The effort, backed by the Duluth Federation of Teachers and Duluth Public Schools, i...

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Students in Anne Krafthefer's fifth grade class at Lester Park Elementary decorated these banks to collect donations at local businesses.

 

Many Duluth Public School classrooms and student organizations took a bite out of local hunger in the third annual "Feeding Local Kids" drive throughout October. The effort, backed by the Duluth Federation of Teachers and Duluth Public Schools, is spearheaded by Anne Krafthefer, fifth-grade teacher at Lester Park Elementary School.

"It's a great opportunity to raise money for local organizations dedicated to hunger and to educate both the kids and the community," Krafthefer said. "Nationally, one in five of our children experience hunger. Hunger impacts every aspect of a child's life: learning, adequate sleep, relationships with peers and community members. In a nation with a surplus of food, we have the means to provide healthy food for every one of these hungry children."

Krafthefer's students decorated donation banks and distributed them to local businesses until Nov. 1. All proceeds raised by Feeding Local Kids will be split evenly between Second Harvest Food Bank and CHUM, specifically targeting their backpack programs for children at risk of hunger.

"One-third of the people served by CHUM's Food Shelf are children. While the children who are enrolled in our schools have access to breakfast and lunch programs throughout the school year, and through much the summer, they have need to be fed on weekends, too," Krafthefer said.

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Students also volunteered to go trick-or-treating to feed local kids, asking for donations as they made the rounds on Oct. 31.

"When I go up to the door, I ask, 'Would you like to make a donation to feed local kids?' and even if they say no, I say, 'Thank you very much,'" said Autumn, a fifth grader in Krafthefer's class. "Usually people who donate give me candy, too. It's nice."

This was Autumn's third year trick-or-treating for donations. Last year she received the largest donation she'd ever seen.

"One time, someone gave me $30. It was my biggest donation," Autumn said.

Asking for money isn't always easy, according to Garin, another fifth grader.

"It's kind of awkward to ask for money instead of candy when you're trick-or-treating," Garin said. "It's hard, but also good."

Before the students went out trick-or-treating, Krafthefer taught a few lessons on hunger and assigned the students a research project so they would be prepared with facts.

"I didn't know how many kids in our area are [at risk of being] hungry," Zoe said. "And I learned that we should appreciate everything that we have. If you have food in your fridge, even if it's something you don't really like, you're pretty lucky."

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"If you go to school on an empty stomach and take a test, I'm pretty sure you'll have a worse score than if you had enough to eat," said Sam, a fifth grader in Krafthefer's class.

Trick-or-treating and donation banks aren't the only means of fundraising. Several other schools and classrooms participated in the program. Denfeld's National Honor Society, East's Key Club, Ordean East and Lincoln's student councils all participated by organizing their own fundraisers and drives. East High School's fall production of Cinderella collected donations before the show and during the matinee. Students at Lowell learned about child hunger in their classrooms and collected donations. Lakewood School's fifth-grade classrooms encouraged students to write about the issue and share information with friends and families.

The Duluth Teachers Credit Union will count the change and issue checks to CHUM and Second Harvest's Backpack Program. One hundred percent of the donations collected will be delivered to these two programs. As of date of publish, the amount raised has not yet been released. Although the fundraising effort has concluded for this year, Krafthefer encourages those willing to make donations to both organizations.

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