Throughout the year, students at The Bright School bring canned goods, donate change, and harvest produce from their on-campus garden to give to a local food pantry that helps those in need in the community. The youngest students plant and harvest vegetables in the Early Childhood Gardens, designated last year as the first Katie’s Krops Garden in Tennessee. The non-profit Katie’s Krops helps schools grow the vegetables they will later donate.
“A seed can teach a child responsibility,” says kindergarten teacher Bill Greene, who oversees the gardens. “Most importantly, we hope they’ll see the significance of caring for others and having empathy for those less fortunate.” He recently asked students about the experience. “We learn about kindness in the garden,” one student said. Another responded, “Giving is helping.”
Two years ago, the school formed a partnership with the Chattanooga Area Food Bank, which serves a 20-county area. Students brought pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters to purchase milk for the food bank’s distribution at a local elementary school. Bright fifth graders helped spread the word to encourage donations.
“Every morning when I look in my refrigerator, I see milk. Some people do not,” said one fifth grader. “I eat cereal every day with milk,” added another, “but I know some of those families probably don’t or they have very little.”
Students and their parents also volunteer to sort items and pack boxes at the food bank, and support its annual canned food drive. It’s work that helps fulfill the school’s mission to develop “wise and compassionate citizens of the world.”