When GBCS grade 11 student Bella Coghlin was assigned a class project for her Social Justice class, she didn’t imagine how much of an impact her results would make. She chose the topic of food security, from the variety of topics they have discussed in class, such as Women’s rights, mental health and wellness, Indigenous issues and more.
Bella was aware of the impact the pandemic and the increase in food bank usage.
“After doing more research on the topic, it became more than just a class project to me. I became more passionate about this issue, and determined to do everything within my capabilities to make a difference in our community and help out our local Food Bank,” she said.
Bella planned and organized a food drive at both the High School and Elementary school, enlisted help from friends and faculty, and turned it into a friendly competition for classrooms to donate the largest amount. Her social science teacher, Ms. Amy Teed-Acres, helped Bella connect with resources she needed, friends helped with putting up posters and organizing collected food, the Principal Mr. Kevin Wilson helped arrange transportation, even her parents helped with collecting boxes. In the end, over 2,000 items of food were collected. Bella was understandably thrilled and amazed with this accomplishment.
On Monday November 14, Mr. Wilson helped Bella and a group of students transport and unload the food at the Meaford Food Bank and Outreach (formerly Golden Town Outreach), located in the basement of the Church of the Nazarene on Trowbridge St. It was a busy morning at the Food Bank, with regular visitors and preparations for Christmas Hampers. The arrival of such a large donation, by such enthusiastic positive young people brightened everyone’s spirits. This donation will go a long way, especially after the holidays when it is a quieter time.
Food Bank President Nellie Greb shared that it is so encouraging to see young people get involved. She remarked that while teens often get a bad rap, these young people show how much most of them really care about the world.
The Christmas Hamper and Angel Star (gifts for children) programs at the Food Bank is open for registration now until November 28, on their Facebook page or by calling 519-538-4550. To drop off donations, please check the times listed online at meafordfoodbankandoutreach.org.
In telling me about this project, Bella said, “People are so quick to judge others that depend on food banks, but the truth is you never know someone’s story. As members of the community, I feel that contributing anything that we can to help our neighbours in need is very important for those reasons, and I strongly encourage anyone who is able to donate as often as they can. It will make a huge difference in someone’s life.” Wise words from a young soul indeed.