4th-graders top collectors for food bank Winners: Sunset Elementary's students find food for thought in this lesson about sharing.

November 03, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Every morning for three weeks, Chris Mosier and the other students at Sunset Elementary School heard the same question over the public address system: "What did you have for breakfast this morning?"

The announcement reminded students that some people didn't have anything for breakfast and urged them to participate in the school food drive.

The message inspired the 9-year-old Pasadena boy and his fourth-grade classmates to bring in more than 350 cans and boxes of food last week, besting all other grades and earning them the honor of eating breakfast Friday with the Oriole Bird, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Sprout of Green Giant fame in the school gymnasium.

"We brought in food so that we could help the hungry," Chris said. "They deserve to live like us, and if they don't have food, they can't live."

About 110 children in four fourth-grade classes munched on doughnuts and drank orange juice while the Oriole Bird led them through a rousing Oriole cheer and the Macarena.

The "Kids Helping Kids" food drive collects nonperishable food items for impoverished families, which is the largest group in need, said Bruce Michalec, executive director of the Anne Arundel County Food Bank.

For five years, Sunset has been donating food to the agency, Michalec said. Last year, the school collected 4,900 pounds of food, making it the No. 1 elementary school in the county.

"I'm not surprised," Michalec said of the students' enthusiasm. "This school has made a tremendous effort to make this a fun campaign, and they always come through."

Jan Miller, counselor and fund-raiser coordinator, said it's easy to encourage the children.

"They want to be involved in something that helps people," she said. "It's a relatively easy thing to do, and this kind of thing makes them feel good."

This year, the 640-pupil school donated about 3,000 cans and boxes of food. Although no one has weighed the cargo, Miller is confident that it will exceed the school's 5,000-pound goal.

The fourth-graders piled their offerings high: cans of vegetables and fruits, boxes of cereal and macaroni. The higher the pile, the bigger the grins.

"This is for the kids," said Randi Pomycala, 9. "It's a nice thing to do."

Her friend Tina Stewart, 9, said, "I brought in food because I wanted to help the hungry, and I like helping."

Ryan McKenzie, 9, had other reasons for donating food. "So we could win," he said as he wiped doughnut powder off his cheek.

The best part about the breakfast?

"Meeting the Oriole Bird," said Allison Jones, 8. "It was exciting."

Pub Date: 11/03/96

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