This fall, Armstrong Elementary School set out to package 10,000 meals on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, toward fighting hunger in Worcester County.
Next Monday, students and parents will package more than 16,000 meals – enough to feed 2,670 families of six people.
Armstrong’s Change X Hunger program raised $4,005 in donations – exceeding its $2,500 goal to help the Worcester County Food Bank, parent Claudia Ramirez said Monday. Armstrong is partnering with Outreach Inc. – Kids Care on the project.
Thermo Fisher Scientific was the largest donor, providing a $1,700 grant toward buying the meals, which cost 25 cents each, she said. Parents and students contributed the rest, she said.
“That’s mostly due to Claudia’s tenacity in terms of perseverance, and really working to really contact anyone and everyone in the community. I think it was nice outreach to the community, to the other schools as well,” Principal John Mendes said.
“I’ve never seen another push like that one, in terms of turning over every stone. The cause itself, you can’t ignore that it’s a very good cause.”
The packaging event is from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. next Monday in the Armstrong cafeteria.
There will be 150 kids participating, working in three shifts of 50 each, Ramirez said.
Five production lines will be organized, and “each line is going to use 10 kids,” she said.
“By the end of the event, the only thing left to do is clean up the big containers that the food came in in,” she said.
Mendes said Thermo Fisher Scientific employees will help out as part of the grant.
“First thing in the morning, they’ll be here to set up the lines,” he said.
Each meal package “has more nutrients than the pre-made food that you buy at the store,” Ramirez said.
“Some families divide these for one or two days, or for lunch and dinner,” she noted.
Outreach will bring the packaged meals to the Worcester County Food Bank.
Mendes said Ramirez “reached out to Westborough Food Pantry and asked them, point blank, if they wanted all of it or any of it.”
“The Westborough community could’ve had it all. But they felt they had enough food in stock, they didn’t need it,” he said.
Ramirez said Westborough Food Pantry officials felt “the Worcester Food Bank was in greater need, and actually, they are.”