In conjunction with ESK’s service-learning curriculum and as a reflection of the school’s mission statement, ESK fifth through eighth graders spent Tuesday morning performing service in the greater Knoxville community. ESK sent students to Second Harvest Food Bank, FISH Hospitality Pantry, Mobile Meals and Beardsley Community Farm, while also performing service for Random Acts of Flowers and around campus. It was a great way for our students to make an impact on the community in so many different ways.

A group of sixth graders at Second Harvest spent their morning prepping a 1,000-lb box of cereal for distribution. This meant dividing the larger box into one-pound bags, which then needed to be boxed up and palletized. After scooping the cereal into bags, students added nutrition information, weighed each bag and then packed the boxes. KARM shared that the food they prepared was enough to feed nearly 900 people.

At FISH Hospitality Pantry, seventh grade students served groceries to approximately 200 families. Groceries included canned food, humus, macaroni and cheese and bread. Mrs. O’Donnell said the students did a great job greeting the clients and responding to the FISH employees. Another group of students helped to sort and prepare food items for distribution to FISH clients.

Eighth graders spent their morning packing shelf-stable meals at Mobile Meals of Knoxville. Shelf-stable meals are the meals delivered to clients on holidays, like MLK, Jr., Day, or on days when deliveries can’t be made due to weather. Each meal included either canned spaghetti, ravioli or beef stew, along with a juice box, shelf-stable milk, a fruit cup and crackers. Once the meals were prepped, they were then palletized for distribution. ESK packed nearly 2,300 meals in three hours, which saves Mobile Meals about $2,300 in costs.

Roughly half of the fifth grade class worked at Beardsley Community Farm. Students learned all about the animals they raise there and how they grow plants. The students also got a lesson in irrigation and the use of rainwater. Students then got their hands dirty by pulling weeds and laying manure to prepare garden beds for fall crops. In addition, students planted spinach and bok choy.

An additional group of fifth and sixth graders remained on campus to serve the greater ESK community. Fifth graders assembled and prepared two garden boxes that will be use as the starting ground for ESK’s farm ecology gardens. Sixth grade students cleared downed limbs and other debris from the trails and washed 216 used vases for donation to Random Acts of Flowers.