Let us feed! The new L2F club hungrily begins chasing their goals

Freshmen Kynlee Johnson and Ashley Johnson help sort cans for the holiday food drive.

Kylee Baines

Freshmen Kynlee Johnson and Ashley Johnson help sort cans for the holiday food drive.

“As kings of the pantry, we decree, if hunger’s the need then let us feed!”

A group of high-school students cheer as they solidify their teams’ catchy slogan. The club members: Jailyn Commodore (10), Desiree Harrington (9), Kynlee Johnson (9), Ashley Johnson (9), Nakyah Marrow (11), Alexia Parker (11), Sigrid Perkinson (9), Lauren Powell (12), Zhavier Rios (10), Alex Swanenburg (9), Melissa Zhang (9), and Kylee Baines (12), meet after-school to continue the School’s involvement as a Lead2Feed sponsored school.

The Menchville High School Lead2Feed program kicked off the 2017-2018 school year by transitioning from a school-wide program into an after-school club sponsored by Fine Arts Instructor Pete Mercier.  The group elected to maintain the former team title “The MHS Food-Lions”, but chose to part ways with the school’s past partner – The Peninsula Food-bank –  to assist a more local, small-scale, organization.

The team will partner with THRIVE Peninsula. THRIVE is based out of the Denbigh area of Newport News, and offers families assistance with physical, economic, educational, emotional and spiritual needs in critical times. They provide housing, utilities, and grocery assistance as well as support and mentoring for financial matters. THRIVE also partners with several churches throughout the city to maintain their services.

The Menchville group has an objective to create an illustrated cook-book for THRIVE participants to utilize. The book, suggested by THRIVE’s director Angela York, will contain basic recipes, basic food handling skills, and nutrition information that correlates with the grocery items handed out to families on a bi/tri-monthly basis.

“We know THRIVE is handing out basic meal necessities such as chicken, vegetables, broth, etc., but we want to ensure recipients really know what to do with that food once they get home,” Pete Mercier commented.

Illustrating the cook-book will also add a fundamental family factor into the project – allowing children the opportunity to color illustrations as their parents prepare meals.

In addition to the cook-book project, the group has created a “needs” survey that is being distributed to THRIVE recipients. The survey asks participants to anonymously respond to questions concerning their knowledge of food preparation, services they could benefit from, the amount of time they spend preparing meals daily, and if they would be interested in attending free classes on various culinary and financial matters. The hope, based on the survey responses, is to get other Menchville clubs (such as FBLA and the culinary classes) involved in offering one-on-one classes.

Prior to Thanksgiving break, the group hosted a two-week long canned food drive for homeroom classes. The school raised 1,000lbs of non-perishable items during the time-frame – 215 lbs were delivered to THRIVE and the remaining 700+lbs were donated to the Peninsula Food-bank.