In Georgetown, Centennial Middle School’s Healthy Basket Program has been running for over 10 years and owes its success to teacher leadership provided by Debbie McClure and the Food Ninjas – a group of more than 25 students who share in the responsibility of cleaning and stocking the snack bins for each classroom and the fruit bowl in the office every week. Teacher Debbie McClure describes the program as follows:
“Food Ninjas provides an opportunity for students to actively contribute to their school community. Anyone who has an interested is welcome to participate in this program. As it runs throughout the year, students know that their attendance is flexible. Our program does not keep them from participating in the many other activities offered here at Centennial. If students are unable to help out one week; they know they can skip that week and return at a later time.”
“At the beginning of our school year, students are invited to sign up to be a Food Ninja. We run this group as a club. Centennial is a Middle School, so in our case, students are from grades 6, 7 and 8. Their peers are very thankful for the service provided. Many students look forward to the delivery of a full bin each week.”
The Food Ninjas are an amazing team and move with speed and stealth every Tuesday at first nutrition break. They collect, clean and stock the bins and resourcefully return them to each classroom so their peers have a healthy snack on hand should the need arise.
Reyden, one of the Centennial Food Ninjas, offered this about her volunteering:
“I’m a Food Ninja because I like helping people and my friends are also in this group. I like to see how many bins we can fill and am proud when we are able to finish the work fast. It’s really organized, if I want I still have time and can go outside after I fill my bin.”
The students also participate in fundraising to help support the program which this year included a candy cane sale where students and staff could purchase a candy cane and holiday greeting card for other school community members. The Ninjas delivered the candy canes and card to each recipient on a special day before the holidays. The students practiced their math skills by calculating the sales and making change and the funds raised went back to the program.
Thank you to the Food Ninjas and Debbie for all their hard work helping ensure that the 430 students at Centennial Middle School are well fed and ready to learn.