The Power of Food

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 Imagine waking up, going to go get breakfast but there is nothing in the fridge. Nothing to eat for the most important meal of the day.  Kids all over the state worry about what they are going to eat. Nearly half of Thornton Academy qualify for free and reduced lunch. Nearly half of Thornton Academy wakes up every morning wondering what they are going to have for breakfast.

“I woke up and I didn’t have any cereal,” said a senior who wanted to keep their identity private. “Then I went to the fridge and I only had two pieces of bread left. That was the bread I was going to use for my lunch. I had to choose between breakfast and lunch.”

Food insecurity is when a family and or person suffers from an inadequate source of food to ensure suitable nutrition. Hunger in Maine has been at higher levels than ever. According to Good Shepherd Food Bank, 16.2 percent of Maine, 208,000 people are food insecure. Nearly half of Maine students qualify for free and reduced lunch.  Maine ranks twelfth in the nation for food insecurity. This is a title that nobody in the stateFOOTBALL TEAM copy wants to be holding.

Food is mandatory for survival. Food is also a key aspect to our culture. But what happens when a family suffers from food insecurity? They are missing a piece of survival. They miss out on all of society’s customs

WGME 13, a news channel broadcasting out of Portland, Maine, set up a friendly competition between southern Maine high schools to provide a way to support families in need. The “School Spirit Challenge” is a contest given to high schools to show off school spirit and to compete to raise the most amount of food. The Saco community has been working hard to rate first in since last spring.

Recently WGME 13 approached Thornton Academy, to contend in the “School Spirit Challenge.”

“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been a lot of work. It consumes every free moment of my days. I’m a little bit behind on my school work. I love it. I love what we are doing,” said Ms. Lasante.

In the wScreen shot 2015-11-12 at 7.47.47 AMeeks leading up to the contest the Ms. Lasante and students from student council went out on a mission to collect donations of food and money. 94,923 pounds of food and money was collected from the food run and donations from students at school.  Ms. Lasante explains how emotional she got when students started returning with cars full of food.

“To see those guys return with food, cars full of food, the mini bus full of food, and then pockets full of cash…I couldn’t handle it. It was very, very emotional,” said Ms. Lasante.

“I think it’s awesome,” said dance teacher, Emma Campbell. “I think it just goes to show the altruistic nature of the school and the community and that we are ready to help whenever people ask that of us.”

She, among other teachers, were asked to encourage students to participate in the rally.

“I’m always very surprised, pleasantly surprised, at the charitable nature of the students. I love seeing the students give and I think that it really gives them like a warm fuzzy feeling. I think giving is contagious.”

One of the hardest things about being nominated for this challenge is getting high school students to school for 5:45 a.m.

“I’m having nightmares that nobody is going to show up,” said Caryn Lasante, an English teacher and student council advisor. On the eve of the big event.

Caryn Lasante and Mary Ann Martin planned the rally. Everyone was blown away by the huge turnout. Around eight-hundred students showed up, participated, and gave tons of support to the community.

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Educating students for more than 200 years.