This past year I had the privilege of leading 5 fifth graders in the Food Rescue mission at Hinkle Creek Elementary School. What honestly started out as something to do "for" others ("for" a friend, "for"my son) quickly became something I was looking forward to on a weekly basis. You see, while the mission of Food Rescue is indeed something I support, and have passion for, the mission itself was not what got me excited. What got me excited was getting to know these 5 young people, learning what makes them excited, helping them learn things about themselves and what they are capable of, and helping them realize that their seemingly small efforts have tremendously big impact.
Let's take student 1...student 1 loved being around his friends, but the Kingdom of God was something new to this student. This student was now learning about things he had previously been unfamiliar with, and in a way & with people where it was completely safe and not awkward. Student 2 had to learn how to take something he had been surrounded by since infancy, and learn to articulate it in way that was "professional and easy to understand". Student 3 has a knack for organizing the details, and completing the smaller tasks. Student 3 ALSO was the student who seemed to connect the group when they were "out of sync". Student 4 was the "big picture" visionary...the leader or the group, in a sense. This student was able to take ideas, and turn them into action items that everyone could get behind. Student 5 was our "academic" and our "people pleaser". This was the student who wanted to be the leader, wanted to have all the ideas, and I think sometimes felt left out. I had to work with Student 5 to realize that the rest of the students needed her for balance, and support. She was, in fact, the glue that kept the group happy.
You may be asking what all this actually has to do with the Food Rescue project. Well...it was the realization that this K12 Food Rescue mission is SO MUCH BIGGER that saving the food, and helping the landfills. While I "knew" that the S.L.E.I. was a great thing, I didn't really "get" how great it was. So, speaking from one adult to another...if you have thought about supporting students in your school in this program, I would tell you that you should do it, and do it now! The opportunity for these kids to begin realizing their strengths, and to apply them in a "real world" scenario is so amazingly powerful. I remain in awe of what I know these 5 can accomplish in their lives, and am filled with excited anticipation to see where they go.