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Home » News » Hope for the Holidays

Hope for the Holidays

St. Mary Parish School Fifth Graders Recreate Diner to Help Hungry at the Holidays; Raise $1200 for Feeding America

MENOMONEE FALLS, WI, November 28, 2017 ( Just in time to help needy families for the holidays, the St. Mary Parish School fifth graders recreated a lunchtime diner to earn and donate $1200 to Feeding America on Friday, November 17, 2017. Inspired by the Newberry Award winning book, Hope was Here, in the course of seven weeks the fifth graders read the book, applied for a job at the diner in more than eight departments, created a menu, priced supplies, trained staff, designed table décor as well as countless other responsibilities that were needed to prepare for the lunchtime rush at the Welcome Stairways Diner on November 7, 2017 at St. Mary Parish School.



In two hours the St. Mary students prepared and served lunch to more than 180 customers. Patrons were able to choose from G.T’s Chicken Sandwich (a seasoned grilled chicken break sandwich on a brioche bun) or the Keep Hoping Sandwich (a smoked turkey sandwich with dried tomatoes, mozzarella, chopped salad greens and red wine vinaigrette). Fruit salad, chips and a lettuce salad as well as desserts were also available The desserts on the menu included mocha chip cookies, butterscotch cream pie, apple pie ala mode or blueberry coffee cake. The donated amount included all money earned from guest checks, tips earned from wait and bus staff, as well as donations from each fifth grader that ate lunch at the closing of the diner.

TJ Kelm and Jenny Stroh are the fifth grade teachers at St. Mary Parish School. In an age when video games, television and electronic devices dominate for their student’s attention, they want their students to enjoy reading, to improve reading comprehension and to try and put into practice some of the important lessons from the books their students read in fifth grade. “Every book they read has a special project or field trip to bring the book to life. Students don’t want to miss out on the experiences and are swept along in the reading excitement…Even reluctant readers find themselves not wanting to put the book down,” said Stroh.

Hope was Here’s message is that “hope” is always present as long as there are good people who care about one another. As one of the novel’s main character’s point out, “Everyone can use a little hope to help get through the tough times.” With the $1200 donated by the St. Mary Parish School fifth graders, Feeding America can provide just that kind of hope – allowing for more than 3000 meals to be provided to those in need this holiday.

Keith Michalski, donor relations manager from Feeding America, came to St Mary Parish School on November 17 to personally accept their donation, to thank the students and teachers and explained how they will be helping the needy right here in southeastern Wisconsin. He also congratulated the students for making such a big impact at their young ages and thanked them for showing they’re never too young to give back to the community!

“It is amazing to see students using their skills in “real world” situations. This project allowed all the students the opportunity to take learning outside of the classroom in so many ways. I am so proud of what they have accomplished,” said Kelm.

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