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Fridley Public Schools

At the first in-house food packing event, over 100 Fridley High School (FHS) Key Club and Fridley Middle School (FMS) Builders Club, and Lead for Change students volunteered to support local food shelves and organizations that surround the Fridley community on May 6. Students gathered at the Fridley Community Center, alongside Columbia Heights-Fridley Kiwanis Club members, to pack nutrient-rich instant oatmeal bags with Harvest Pack, a humanitarian hunger relief nonprofit organization. 

Both FHS Key Club and FMS Builders Club are student-led, service-oriented organizations. Lead for Change is a service-learning class at FMS that teaches students about community needs, applicable skills and provides service activity opportunities. Students assisted in the preparation and set up for the event, which included setting up stations for volunteers to pack food. Serving in two shifts, students worked in an assembly line format to funnel oatmeal, sugar, cinnamon, and other nutrients into the bags, which were then sealed and packed into boxes. Once a box was filled with 40 packages, a student would hit a gong to celebrate, adding to the fun and upbeat atmosphere of community service.  

“Key Club and Builders Club center around community service, and today’s volunteer opportunity is exactly why we do what we do,” said Nathan Gonzalez, Key Club President. “It’s been great to create a bridge between the two clubs, and work with our Lead for Change students. We get to interact with our middle school future leaders, get to know each other, and come together for a great cause.” 

Key Club Vice President and Chair of the project, Cecilia Fellner, added that working to give back to the local community was meaningful. “We chose Harvest Pack because we wanted to make an impact right here in our local community,” said Fellner. “There is a big need and it feels great to be a part of this.” 

Along with Key Club Board members, Mary Bowen, Kiwanis member and Key Club advisor, helped to organize the event. Bowen worked to raise $5,000 from local organizations to purchase the food to benefit those in need. “I wanted to help provide a new opportunity for students,” said Bowen. “This is the very first time that we get to pack food here at the school district, so it’s a special project for all of us to take part in.” 

At the conclusion of the event, students packed over 20,000 meals with eight servings per bag. The meals were distributed to multiple local organizations, including Southern Anoka County Service (SACA), Eastside Neighborhood Services, the Aliveness Project, Community Assistance Program, and Fridley Middle School.