‘Superhero’ students trade ice cream for food shelf donations

Spring Valley Food Shelf volunteer Carol Gross weighs food as Christy Noble's kindergarteners bring donations into the food shelf last Friday morning. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
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Giving is superhero-sweeter than ice cream.

Kingsland kindergarten students of teacher Christy Noble discovered that after deciding to skip an ice cream party they had won, instead hopping on a bus downtown to the Spring Valley Food Shelf Friday, Nov. 2, bringing donations to volunteers Carol Gross and Rita Hartert waiting at the center.

“We had an amazing speaker who taught us five things — to face your fears, be respectful, take care of others, tell the truth, and last, hugs.  Because we heard this speaker tell us about taking care of others, we talked about how we had earned an ice cream party, but Kingsland School Parents (KSP) had already bought us t-shirts and taken us on a field trip to the apple orchard, so we decided to take the ice cream money we would have used to have a party and bring food to you,” Noble told the waiting volunteers.

KSP school support program member Heather Zweibohmer explained that KSP ran a contest in September, which Noble’s kindergarten class won for bringing in the most Box Tops for Education. In October, instead of keeping what it would take to have an ice cream party, the students voted to give back to the community.

Noble wrote a letter to KSP that stated, “Our class decided to give back, to give to others, because one of the things we learned is that to be a superhero, you have to take care of others.  You’ve already gotten us those wonderful ‘Kingsland Kind’ t-shirts, so we decided to donate our prize back to others.  It makes our hearts feel good.” 

“I thought was pretty special that our kindergarten class was able to take their prize and give it others,” said Zweibohmer.

Upon arriving at the food shelf, Noble’s students carried boxes, bags and cans of eats that they were purchased with their ice cream party money, watching as Gross put each on the scale to weigh donations.  Noble asked her students, “What do you think that is?  It’s flat.  What is this we’re putting our food on?” 

The superheroes took their food to the storage room after they got it back from Gross, and Hartert met them there. 

“This is kind of like a pantry — that means we store extra food here in this room,” said Hartert.  “That room is like a grocery store.  Sometimes a few families need a little extra food for their families, so they can come here and shop for what they need.  If the grocery store room gets a little low, we take some food from here and put it on the shelves out there to fill those shelves.  This food shelf, or grocery store, is always open to everybody, and we’re always glad to give tours so people can see what we give to people who shop here.” 

She pointed out the boxes of squash and apples.  “A lot of people have gardens, and if they have extra food in the fall, they give it to us.  In August, they bring us cucumbers and tomatoes if they have too many,” she explained.

The kindergarteners then asked questions of the volunteers, beginning with “How long has the food shelf been here?” 

Gross replied that it has been in the downtown location for nearly five years, and Noble noted to her students that that is about as long as they’ve been alive.  “Some of you are 6, so that means that this has been here since you were little babies,” she said.

Another asked how old the foods on the shelves are.  Noble stated, “It’s just like going to the grocery store, so maybe they’re a couple weeks, a couple months or up to a year.”

She then took her students on a short tour of the grocery store room, showing them, “Look, green beans, there’s chicken, there’s peanut butter and jelly, there’s cereal.  And there’s books!  It’s like a library, too!”

Hartert and Gross thanked the students for their superhero-sweet generosity, handing them each an apple on their way out the door to get back on the bus, back to kindergarten.