Students collect school supplies for ‘Gallon of Care’ packages
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN Glue sticks, crayons, and calculators are typical school supplies that are often taken for granted by the average American student. Such items, however, are rarely accessible to young students in impoverished classrooms around the world.
In an effort to make a difference, both globally and locally, Dassel-Cokato High School students are collecting school and learning supplies for educational care packages to send to students in South America, as well as to children in the district’s early childhood program who are in need.
The project, called “Gallon of Care,” is part of the high school’s service learning project, in which a student committee organizes a project to get the whole school involved in a project that gives back to the community, both on a global and local scale, explained Steven Schauberger, high school dean of students.
The idea, ultimately, is to give students a desire to help others, he said. Last year’s service learning project was organizing the diabetes walk, which took place last May and raised more than $1,100.
The goal of Gallon of Care is to collect school supplies and pack them into 1-gallon ziplock bags weighing 1 pound each, for a total of 1,500 bags.
The educational care packages will be divided, sent, and distributed to children in Peru and Costa Rica, as well as to students enrolled in DC Early Childhood and Family Education.
Items being collected may seem to be common items among American children, however, in countries like Peru and Costa Rica, these items are rare.
Sophomore and Gallon of Care committee member Gabriella Funk loves children and is excited to be collecting supplies for those in need.
“For them, it’s like waking up on Christmas Day,” Funk said, explaining how the children will treasure the packages they receive.
Senior and fellow committee member Allison Baatz said the project “makes me think we take so much for granted,” and for these children, the items supplied are not as readily available.
Paul Bernhagen, director of Camp Penuel in Costa Rica, will be distributing the packages to children who attend his camp this summer. Students there learn how to speak English, and many of the items will be things they have never seen before, he said, such as sticky notes, colored pencils, and hand sanitizer.
The flash cards and books will be a symbol to inspire them to learn the English language, he commented.
Each grade is being asked to collect certain items:
• 9th grade pencils, glue sticks, erasers;
• 10th grade pens, chewing gum, hand sanitizer;
• 11th grade flash cards, colored pencils, or crayons; and
• 12th grade calculators, pencil sharpeners, and sticky notes.
• All grades new or gently used paperback children’s books for ages 2-5 that are 10-inches-by-10 inches or less in size.
Students, staff, families, community members, and businesses can participate by donating any of the supplies listed, or cash to assist in purchasing supplies or shipping.
Donations can be dropped off to FLEX teachers or at the high school office from Monday, March 12 through Friday, March 23.
Students will bag the items during the week of April 9.
Megan VanZuilen, high school Spanish teacher, will be traveling to Peru during spring break, March 26-30, and will distribute them to underprivileged children.