Caldwell's Lincoln School Students Create 32 “Dinners in a Box”

Lincoln School fifth graders Nicholas Ricci,  Andrew McLaughlin and Benfer Canamaque carry just one of the 32 Feasts in a Box collected and organized by the elementary school. The meals were donated to the Caldwell Food Pantry to brighten some local families’ holiday. Credits: Christine Corliss C-WC BOE
Fifth graders at Lincoln School, Caldwell,  Amanda Gaffney,  Fatima Fernandez-Canete, Madison Borys and Grace Coleman take part in the “human chain” used by the students to transport the meals-in-a-box collected by the school. The fifth grade students formed the chain to transport the 32 boxes from the top floor of the school to the van waiting to transport the meals to the Caldwell Food Pantry. The meals will be distributed to local families in need. Credits: Christine Corliss C-WC BOE

CALDWELL, NJ - Lincoln Elementary School broke their own annual record today when they collected and boxed enough food to create 32 “Dinners in a Box.”  

The effort was coordinated by fifth grade civic teachers Christina Dunne and Margot Kolator.

“We try to do several community service projects each year,” said Dunne.
"Our annual food drive helps the students see firsthand how even a small gesture can go a long way,  especially when everyone chips in.  We collect the items needed to create a Thanksgiving feast,  including gravy,  cranberry sauce,  mashed potatoes,  stuffing,  and more.”

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The Thanksgiving project starts early in October.  The fifth graders organize the food collection and ask students from each grade to bring in a specific item or two toward the Thanksgiving boxes.  The students use seasonal colors to decorate each box and this year they produced a record-breaking 32 boxes of stuffing,  cranberry sauce,  gravy,  vegetables,  muffin and brownie mixes.

Because of the lack of school due to Hurricane Sandy, the fifth graders had to gather the food in much less time than they planned for.
“We gathered 481 items in five days instead of the normal two and a half weeks,”  added Dunne.  “This was truly a feat, but my students and I were determined not to disappoint!”

Most of the food was collected during the same time period as the parent-teacher conferences.  As a reminder to their parents, students hung donation signs on classroom doors and scattered them along the hallways. 

It must have worked:
“My classroom looked like a grocery store as we sorted all the items into categories,” said Dunne.

Maria Burak, Caldwell’s Director of Human Services, accepted the boxed donations on Friday, November 16.
“We appreciate all of the food donated,” said Burak.  “There is an even greater need this year than last,  and many of our shelves are empty.  These donations truly make a difference, and the decorative boxes are such a nice touch.”

Lincoln Elementary School
18 Crane Street, Caldwell, NJ 07006

Maria Burak
Caldwell Food Pantry
14 Park Avenue, Caldwell, NJ 07006

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