One of the core beliefs of a Quaker education is that students develop a conscious responsibility for the good of all. In support of that philosophy, Wilmington Friends School closed out their school year with one final act of community service, partnering with The Outreach Program to package 20,000 nutritious meals for local homeless shelters and food pantries.
Members of the entire school community — students, alumni, parents, grandparents, board members, faculty and staff (200 people in all) — gathered together to package food for organizations in and around Wilmington.
“What a tremendous day. To see so many members of our community here ready to roll up their sleeves and pitch in is just amazing,” said Wilmington Friends School Board Member Susan Kelley. “We accomplished our meal goal number and in fact, did it in under two hours,” she said at May 18th food assembly event.
The Outreach Program is a non-profit organization, committed to helping the hungry on an international level. The program has facilitated the packaging of more than 525 million meals across the world.
Outreach partners with schools, businesses, religious and civic organizations, of all ages in order to prepare food for the hungry and homeless in communities, such as Wilmington.
WFS’ volunteers were trained by Outreach personnel on the morning of the event. After the packaging process was finished, volunteers personally delivered the meals to various organizations in the community.
The recipient organizations included the Food Bank of Delaware, Latin American Community Center, Kennett Food Cupboard/ La Communidad, Lutheran Community Services, Joseph’s Pantry at Congregation Beth Emeth, and the Octorara Food Cupboard.
The WFS Board of Trustees initiated the project as an effort to bring the school community together around an act of community service.
“Wilmington Friends was founded on the principle of service to others and we often say it ‘is in our DNA’,” Kelley said. “Our service projects are more than just a program or extra credit project.”
This was the first time Wilmington Friends has partnered with The Outreach Program, and volunteers remarked that the process was easy and efficient. “It was really wonderful to partner with the Outreach Program, which works to end hunger on a worldwide basis. And yet all of our efforts today will support local organizations. That was really important to us,” said WFS parent Susan Finizio.