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Acalanes Government Class Volunteers at Food Bank for Civic Action Project

By Stella Heo, Staff Writer

// Kiwis covered the floor. Cardboard boxes and bags were ready to be filled. Student volunteers and their teacher stood ready to organize. 

   As an opportunity for extra credit, history teacher Kristen Anderson invited her senior Government students on Monday, Nov. 4 to go to the Contra Costa Food Bank so they could give back to the community.

   Anderson’s class is doing a civic action project where students must follow an issue and relate it to the course curriculum. If the student does an hour of civic action that relates to their issue, they will receive extra credit.

   “I had over 20 students go [to the Food Bank]. We do a number of things. We went and saw Congressman DeSaulnier speak, and I had about 15 students go to a gun control meeting that was held here in Lafayette,” Anderson said. 

   The opportunity is meant to give students the chance to get involved and help the community. By going to the Food Bank, students could have a hands-on experience.

   “Part of your right as a responsibility in the United States is to be virtuous, to care about your community, and to help it. The constitution starts with ‘We the People.’ We can’t rely on government to do and solve all of our problems,” Anderson said.

   Anderson acknowledged that students may have varied levels of volunteering experience, and she viewed the opportunity to help at the Food Bank as an experience for all students to enjoy. Volunteers agreed that the Food Bank was an enjoyable way to give back.

   “I really liked it. It’s a good way to give back to the community and get involved. I would do it again for sure,” volunteer and senior Olivia Pellegrini said. “It is a good feeling to give back to the community and get involved if you don’t usually do that.”

Senior Olivia Pellegrini bags kiwis.
Courtesy Kristen Anderson

   After coming out of the Food Bank, students were more empathetic and understanding towards others.

   “They definitely do [learn to empathize more], and I think they understand that while Whole Foods and farmers or the government can donate this food and it shows up at the Food Bank, they still need volunteers to receive it and to bag it and to drive it and to get it to the needy,” Anderson said. “We were part of that process, and it takes an entire community both of government, money, volunteers to affect change.”

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