Mathewson Elementary School Celebrates Dime Drive for Milford Food 2 Kids

By Ashley Grant

Nov. 29, 2017, Mathewson Elementary School invited Michele Steinlauf and me to their November Town Meeting to celebrate students' efforts on their 2nd annual dime drive. 

Classes of students in a colorful assortment of class Tee-shirts spilled into the multi-use space. They settled into color blocks with little hands raised in peace V signs to signal quiet. Principal Currier opened the meeting with centering breaths. On the third inhale, she said, "on the exhale think of someone you care about."

En masse we exhaled. Currier transitioned from the sure-fire cares among her Kindergarten through 5th graders: mom, dad, siblings, aunts, uncles, even pets, to caring for others in the community who need a little extra help. Boom! Currier took us straight to caring for others through Milford Food 2 Kids!

In October of 2016, Mathewson's PTA embraced the Food 2 Kids Mission: To feed local school children who have little or no food resources during the weekend away from school. They ran their first Dime Drive, raising $1,204 in a matter of three weeks. This October families from Mathewson volunteered for an evening group packing event. Meanwhile, second grade teacher Amy Bugge and mom of two students Tracy Hoppock led the school in a second Coin Drive. Hoppock prepped empty water bottles for each class to fill, and Bugge spread the word among the school's 22 classes. The PTA created a bit of healthy competition to see which class could collect the most. It's the collective effort that best reflects what we do at Milford Food 2 Kids.

Mathewson's school community buzzed with excitement to hear the top classes: 3rd place went to Miss. DiFederico's 5th grade; 2nd place went to Miss. Fitzsimons' 1st grade; and 1st place went to Mr. LaPierre's 5th grade class, who collected $140 in coins. 

Hoppock explained how passionate Miss. Bugge was about the project and how she took all of the coins to Milford Bank to be counted. Bugge told the students that the coins were very heavy. Then they presented Milford Food 2 Kids with an enormous check, literally made from 2 poster boards, for $1,220.

Students roared at the collective total. $1,220 will sponsor more than 4 students for the entire school year, in other words, suppling 174 weekend bags of food. 

The rest of the Town Meeting celebrated individual students, "Top Dogs," who practice their caring in the classroom, among classmates and teachers. It was evident that Mathewson's educators and PTA supporters equip these students to care about others; and their dime drive turned caring into experiential education for impacting real need in the community.

When Currier excused the assembly, the room exhaled students in blocks of colorful Tee-shirts. Currier's initial breathing exercise offered a powerful lesson for what is possible in our "Little City with a Big Heart": Deep breaths help clear the distractions; and exhales remind you to think about someone you care about. Make "Care" an active verb. Just so know, there are children in Milford (every community, really) who need us to care; some who need a little extra assistance and some who need a lot.

Thank you,Mathewson Elementary School, for your generosity and for caring.

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