Students of all ages at Episcopal experience the value of getting involved in serving our community. They have a plethora of service options to choose from and, throughout the year, are typically involved in supporting a good cause. One area that seems to capture their attention, especially during this time of year when the temperatures are dropping, and the holiday season is approaching….is the shortage of food.
This month, students are helping to stop hunger by increasing community awareness of food needs in North Baton Rouge at the Hunger Walk 2019 and by stocking up the Shepherds Market, which serves South Baton Rouge.
Led by current and prospective National Honor Society members, the Shepherd’s Market Thanksgiving Food Drive offers all students an opportunity to experience serving others. Savannah York, the school’s NHS Vice President, shared the value of the program at each division’s assembly stating, that the Shepherd’s Market has helped over 2,700 families in South Baton Rouge, distributing approximately 23,000 pounds of food each month.
“I have participated in the Shepard’s Market Food Pantry Service activities for four years now, and the generosity of Episcopal students never ceases to surprise me," says Savannah. “Several years ago, Episcopal donated 4,600 pounds of food. Last year, less than 2,000 pounds of food were donated. This year I hope we over-achieve and set a new record!”
Theresa Sandifer, Director of the Shepherd’s Market Food Pantry, educated the Upper School during Thursday’s assembly. “One out of every four children go to bed hungry at night in Louisiana,” she said. “Nationally, the hunger rate among children is one out of every five.” When asked what foods were needed, Sandifer stated, “red beans, cereals, pasta of any kind, peanut butter, canned fruit, canned meat, and anything that would help families prepare their Thanksgiving meal.”
Next week, the NHS members will be at the morning carpool available to assist the Lower School students with carrying their food donations. Lower School students can bring breakfast foods, Middle Schoolers can bring lunch foods and Upper School can bring dinner foods. Click here to see the list of high-demand items.
“‘Shepherd’s Market is unique,” says Savannah. “Everyone is welcome to 'shop' from the pantry, choosing the items that best fit the needs and preferences of their family. This service project is one of the best opportunities for Episcopal students to give back to their community and become actively involved in making a difference for those who aren’t always granted the same opportunities that we are so often gifted to enjoy.”
Students will deliver and sort the collected groceries and supplies at the Shepherd’s Market on Saturday, November 23. They will also help clients shop at the Shepherd’s Market on Tuesday, November 26.
In addition to the two mile Hunger Walk to raise money on Sunday, November 10, Episcopal students manned the various activity tables to increase awareness on the hunger needs in the East Baton Rouge (EBR) community.
Senior Megan Nguyen was assigned to the map table and says this, “My task was to have people map their nearby grocery store. They quickly saw their easy access to fresh produce and healthy food options found in supermarkets. I was glad to help raise awareness of the ‘food deserts’ in North Baton Rouge. Food deserts are areas in Baton Rouge where people do not have nearby access to a supermarket or large grocery store and can't easily find fresh produce.”
Sophomore, Shuhei Niwano received a long list of names who had received a free-hot meal served Monday thru Friday at Cadillac Park in the Zion City neighborhood (North Baton Rouge) in 2019. “I helped people write signs to put on their backs for the walk. They could pick a name from the list or write the name of someone they knew that had experienced financial need and lack of food. The sign said 'I walk for __' and the person they were walking for. I -- and everyone that visited my booth -- were very surprised at the number of names that were on the list.”
“My station provided people with the task of designing a full day of meals to feed a family of 4 for only $23. I thought this was going to be easy when I did it, but then I realized how little $23 is. Everyone that visited my table realized the challenge to make healthy and balanced meals with only $23,” said Senior Ryan Field about his experience at the Hunger Walk.
Nancy Reynolds spent 16 years with the IBM Corporation in Dallas as a quality process analyst and service delivery manager. She graduated with her MBA in strategic leadership and her Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. Nancy, a native of Texas, began her career in education after moving to Louisiana and completing the state’s alternate certification program at Louisiana State University. She spent the next five years working at Parkview Baptist School. In 2010, Nancy joined the Episcopal team as Registrar and Website Content Manager. Today, Nancy continues her role as Registrar and also serves as Systems Administrator. As Registrar, she is responsible for scheduling, student enrollments and student records for the three divisions. As Systems Administrator, Nancy ensures the various systems vital to the school’s operations are running effectively e.g., PowerSchool, Canvas, Swiftreach, SchoolAdmin, and DirectorySpot. Nancy has three children. She is an avid social media user which allows her to remain connected with her eleven siblings. Nancy also serves as Fundraiser Chair for the Boys Scouts of America Troop 205.