Feeding People: Second Graders Learn About Food Insecurity

We know that a peaceful world cannot long exist, one-third rich and two-thirds hungry.
– Jimmy
Carter, 39th president of the United States

Each year the Mount Madonna School (MMS) second grade class spearhead an important activity with the help of their seventh grade buddies, the Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) Santa Cruz County’s annual Holiday Food and Fund Drive. This year due to COVID, instead of collecting cans and non-perishable food, second graders created a donation page on the SHFB website and put out a call to the greater MMS community for donations for this important cause.

That call was answered.

The MMS community – including families, faculty, staff, alumni and friends – donated $648, equating to 2,593 meals for hungry people in Santa Cruz County. The students recently reflected on the many dedicated volunteers who support SHFB, and during the holiday season wrote letters of appreciation to Second Harvest volunteers.

“Food bank volunteers help the community,” commented second grader Georgiana Gelsinger.

“To the food bank volunteers, thank you for filling up bins of food and sorting,” wrote classmate Jules Moutafian. “You are helping others.”

“Thank you food bank volunteers, for helping the people who don’t have food or houses!” said classmate Dahlia Bell.

“Food bank volunteers are awesome,” added classmate Arias Aguirre.

Second grade students began looking at this topic with lessons on food distribution and how food is sourced.

“This is an important concept as we are near so much of the food that grows, travels and gets eaten by people all over our country,” said teacher Prema Gammons. “We look at food cycles, discuss how plants grow in our area and write about our favorite foods. We then talk about how food comes into our homes and discuss reasons for hunger and food insecurity in our community, which now, more than ever, is such an important lesson.

“Second graders fully grasp this concept and share reasons for donating to the Food Bank with others,” she continued. “Although the process of this unit looked different, the important reasons for it have only gotten more crucial in these current, challenging times.”

Gammons received a note of appreciation from a community member who was inspired to support the SHFB after reading about the students’ efforts.

“Please share my appreciation with your students and their big buddies for leading this charge again,” wrote MMS alumna Lara Kilpatrick (’85), “as it is especially vital and important in these times when so many more children and families in our local community are food insecure.”

Another highlight of the students’ studies included learning about food distribution and farming in the local community, including a Zoom lesson on berry growth and distribution from a second grade parent, who works for local berry producer Driscoll’s.

Second grader Oceana Harris said she appreciated working collaboratively with her classmates.

“It was great,” said Harris, “to all work together to raise money for the food bank.”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.