Wagons, ho – food bank or bust


Salmonberry School Students participated in a unique sort of wagon train this week.

Kids ages three to 10 pushed and pulled a procession of large wagons through the driving rain to deliver hundreds of donated food items to the Orcas Food Bank.

Once there, after a well-earned cup of cocoa, the students helped sort and shelve many of the items. This was the culmination of a sustained community service project, which included collecting food at the school, and raising awareness about the diversity of needs within our community.

“Service Learning is such an important part of Salmonberry’s mission,” program director Paul Freedman said. “We are often looking for ways to connect the kids with the larger island community in hands-on and caring ways. It simultaneously meets critical community needs, and satisfies our children’s inherent desire to nurture others. Projects like this also speak to our belief that education is not a preparation for life; it is life.”

This project began as the brainchild of Salmonberry’s early childhood teacher Linda Ellsworth. As a long time early childhood educator, Ellsworth has been particularly committed to creating educational experiences that are meaningful and relevant to the lives of children as well as the community in which they live. When she learned of the hugely increased number of families seeking assistance from the Orcas Food Bank this season, she immediately designed the core elements of this project.

“That was great! Let’s do it again next week!” one of the students said.

“It’s important to help people when you can, because someday you might need help too. And, it’s fun. It just feels good.” said another student.

Salmonberry School expressed its deep and sincere gratitude to all the volunteers who are involved in the Food Bank project, as well as to all those who are able and willing to donate to the Food Bank each week.

“After seeing all the good work that is going on behind the scenes with this endeavor, Salmonberry would like to encourage all those who are able to continue to support the Orcas Food Bank, in their quest for new facilities, and to continue their important work, providing food to families in need,” Freedman said.