Providing meals for the homeless was a lesson in sustainable development for the St. Louis Regional Program for Exceptionally Gifted Students (PEGS) at Kennerly Elementary School last week. Students in third, fourth and fifth grade supplied Peter and Paul Community Services with more than 250 meals for the homeless.
“It started two years ago, and in our program, a lot of our units revolve around the United Nations sustainable development goals,” elementary school PEGS teacher Rachel Weatherford said. “The goals connected to this service project are the goals of no poverty and zero hunger. Right now, the unit we are doing with the fourth- and fifth-graders focuses on those goals.”
Weatherford, and elementary school PEGs teachers Laura Macheca and Paul Husch also helped the students make the meals. Other services projects done in the past year include an art fundraiser where students created art and sold it to help benefit the World Wildlife Foundation and St. Louis Humane Society, and the creation of a native garden.
“A few weeks ago, students researched about native plants in Missouri,” Weatherford said. “We are going to plant a native garden at Kennerly. The students researched plants they would want to put in the garden and wrote letters to our principal about the plants they wanted for the garden.”
Weatherford hopes that the service projects help teach students to become community leaders.
“For us, to be able to do this for the homeless shelter, is to allow the students to start to be part of that change,” Weatherford said. “You can see the kids get so enthusiastic. One of the students said that doing good makes you feel good. That’s what you can see with our kids. They’re getting that feeling now, and we are hoping that continues as they get older.”
Before the students started making sandwiches on Thursday, Dec. 16, one of the students said something similar.
“It feels so good to help the homeless shelter,” third grade student Liam said to the entire class.