Eighth grade class hosts successful donation event for Guilderland Food Pantry

On Thursday, Dec. 16, the Eighth Grade at Farnsworth Middle School held a cereal domino event in their hallways to benefit the Guilderland Food Pantry.

This was the second year for the event, organized by eighth grade math teachers Todd Hanson, Rebecca Been, Mary Grace Judge, Patty Ryan and Stephanie Cambrea. Each had their students collect full-size cereal boxes in preparation for the unique activity, with over 350 boxes donated this year, topping last year’s goal of 300.

John McConnell, Executive Director of the Guilderland Food Pantry, explained how cereal is a staple donation item as it’s used both for clients as well as the Guilderland Backpack Program. The Pantry sends students from the elementary schools and FMS home with backpacks that contain items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Guilderland Food Pantry sends about 65 kids home with backpacks each week.

When asked about how they came up with the domino idea, teacher Todd Hanson said “It was a way to give back to the Guilderland Food Pantry as they help Guilderland students” everyday, in addition to the community.

Rachel Been added to Todd’s statement “It fits right into their [students] curriculum. We are finding the surface area of prisms and the cereal box is a prism.”

After learning the lesson on paper, it was time for the students to apply it to real life. The donated cereal boxes were lined up one after the other, spanning across three hallways, then knocked them down creating a “domino effect”. Clean-up afterwards was swift, with students gathering the packages of cereal into boxes to be delivered to the Guilderland Food Pantry.

When asked if they plan to do this event again next year, all the math teachers at FMS responded with an emphatic “yes”. Teacher Rebecca Been stated “A lot of our students don’t realize that the person sitting next to them might need food. And until a child’s basic needs are met, they can’t learn.”

Teacher Patty Ryan further explained that students have “…lost a lot because of the pandemic like field trips and activities. Coming together as an entire eighth grade in the school, they don’t have many opportunities as before. So it’s the small things like this that gives them more of a sense of community.”

To make a financial or food donation to the Guilderland Food Pantry visit their website www.guilderlandfoodpantry.com or Amazon.com where the pantry has a gift list filled with items that can be donated.

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