The holiday season is a time of giving and spreading joy, and the generous spirit of Mrs. Katrina Veal's Midway Hills Primary STEAM class is truly shining bright. This year, the students embarked on a heartwarming project-based learning journey that not only showcases their creativity but also addresses a critical issue in Baldwin County – food insecurity.
As Veal explained, "It's about making our students become problem solvers. Like what you have is the problem, but how can you solve it? So it's making them become critical thinkers? How can you solve a problem working together, let's come together for a cause." The decision to focus on food insecurity stemmed from a poignant moment when a second-grader confided that they didn't have enough food at home. This revelation became the catalyst for their project, and the students began brainstorming ways to address this crucial issue affecting some of their peers and community members.
"Some kids suggested for me to just create a box like when you go to the library, you put a book in or you can leave a book. And so I've thought about what that would be a good idea!" Veal, along with her dedicated team and supportive community members, took the concept from a simple idea to a tangible solution.
The outdoor pantry, strategically located in the school's side parking lot next to the garden and chicken coop, operates on a simple principle: take what you need, leave what you can. It's an inclusive and anonymous way for community members to contribute or receive support, especially during the holiday season. "Oh, my goodness, the food has been coming from parents, students, our teachers, John Milledge donated tons and tons of food, different churches have been bringing food. The community has come together to support this cause," Veal said.
Veal emphasizes that the outdoor pantry isn't just about providing food; it's a valuable educational tool. Veal sees opportunities for students to log which food items are left and which are taken, and using the pantry as a measurable way of determining the level of food insecurity in our community, while also helping to solve the problem.
The Midway Hills Primary STEAM class, under the guidance of Mrs. Katrina Veal, has not only created a practical solution to food insecurity but has also instilled in its students a sense of responsibility, empathy, and the belief that even small actions can make a big difference in the lives of others. This holiday season, let's celebrate the spirit of giving and continue to support initiatives like the outdoor pantry that embody the true meaning of community and compassion.