As the seasons roll around, our Kids 4 Kids program is on a rise with our annual food drive. (Sari Shocket ‘22/Media)
Kids 4 Kids is back, and it’s hard to imagine it ever leaving.
From October 28 to November 25, the Columbus Academy community participates in what is CA’s oldest service tradition: a food and clothing drive benefitting central Ohio families. This year’s food drive began on Monday, October 28, and will end on Thursday, November 14, with the clothing drive lasting from Monday, November 4, to Tuesday, November 12. The project will directly benefit 30 families in the area: 10 from Siebert Elementary School, and 20 from the Childhood League.
Siebert Elementary, a Columbus City School located southwest of Children’s Hospital, has one of the largest and most prominent ESL programs in the area, with many of the students being recent immigrants. The other recipient of Academy’s donations is The Childhood League, an early education center located near Fort Hayes and Columbus State Community College that serves special needs children ages six and under.
This multi-week program incorporates all three school levels en route to the November 23 delivery to the Childhood League and the November 25 drop-off for Siebert Elementary. Upper school students are the primary source for non-perishable food items, with upper schoolers participating in advisory challenges as well as the annual “Begging for Cans” tradition on Halloween night.
Middle school students of different grade levels take on different roles, with fifth grade students shopping for personal care products, sixth grade students sorting food, seventh grade students taking demographic sheets and deciding where food will end up, and eighth grade students delivering items from the clothing drive to the Childhood League, where they will set up a store.
In the lower school, fourth-grade students will buy perishable food items to be received by the Childhood League. Lower grade levels are in charge of sponsoring families, which means balancing out donations and donating gifts for the drive that would not be purchased by the school otherwise.
When the weeks of donating and sorting come to a close, food items that aren’t shipped will be given to the Gahanna Residents in Need program (GRIN), and clothing items will be on their way to the government-sponsored Head Start program, which provides education and health services to children of low-income families.
Ms. Bening is especially ecstatic about this year’s team running the event. She notes that it’s truly special how this project has become a staple in our community, saying that it is “part of our culture now.”
Over the next couple of weeks, the Barton Room Lobby and the Athletic Lobby will–we hope–be filled to the brim with cans, boxes and clothes to help countless families have a happier and healthier holiday season.