Andrews Elementary tradition benefits a local food pantry and helps students with math skills


Gabe Link (left), a second-grader at Andrews Elementary School, reaches for an item to place in his shopping cart at Aldi on Friday, Feb. 15. With him are classmates (from left) Ruby Kohler and Teagan Hall and his mom, Gina Link, a parent volunteer. Photo by Cindy Klepper.

About 60 second-graders from Andrews Elementary School sharpened their math skills - while at the same time serving the community - during a shopping trip on Friday, Feb. 15.

The outing continued a tradition that began three or four years ago, explains Cindy Schenkel, a second grade teacher at Andrews.

"Several years ago, a boy in my class came up with the idea," Schenkel says.

The class had some money to spend, and Schenkel was asking how the class wanted to spend it. She assumed the students would want to buy toys, games or candy.
"But his family had gone through some hard times and had used a food pantry, and he wanted to give it to the food pantry," she says.

The other students agreed, and the tradition was born.
This year's students raised money by making products to sell to other students during a Dec. 14 holiday market.

Once the profits were figured, the money was divided among the students, with each student receiving $4 to spend on food for the food pantry.

"A few kids added some of their own money," Schenkel says. "One girl even took it out of her own piggy bank."
The students, accompanied by parent volunteers, rode a school bus to Aldi in Huntington on Friday morning, Feb. 15, with a goal of buying as much as they could with the money they had. Parents and teachers helped the students keep track of their purchases so they didn't exceed the amount they had to spend.

Once the items were purchased and bagged, they were taken to the community food pantry at the Church of the Nazarene, in Huntington, along with all leftover money from the shopping trip.

Last year, the students were able to donate more than 400 items to the food pantry; this year's total had not yet been tabulated.

Complete caption:
Gabe Link (left), a second-grader at Andrews Elementary School, reaches for an item to place in his shopping cart at Aldi on Friday, Feb. 15. With him are classmates (from left) Ruby Kohler and Teagan Hall and his mom, Gina Link, a parent volunteer. The students used money they had raised during a holiday market in December to purchase food and other items, which were then donated to a community food pantry at the Church of the Nazarene in Huntington.