Giving Back with NYC Students

June 23, 2022  |  by Cody Gohl   |  

Earlier this month, Food Bank teamed up with the Village Community School (VCS) for a service-learning project to benefit students served by Food Bank’s Campus Pantry Program. Together, we packed bags of nutritious snacks, learned about reading food labels, and even enjoyed a little story time with our youngest participants.  

VCS blog postLeft: Food Bank Vice President of Institutions & Partnerships Janis Robinson reads “Maddi’s Fridge.” Right: A VCS student packs a bag of food.  

Located in New York City’s historic West Village, VCS has long been committed to giving back to those in need; in fact, service is baked right into the curriculum and taught to students from their very first moments at the school. To help create meaningful experiences for the students, VCS leans on a service committee co-chaired by parents, including longtime Food Bank friend Juliana Ruecker, who invited us to partner with the school for its first in-person service day since the onset of COVID-19.  

“This is our first on-campus live event in three years, so I almost cried this morning I was so excited,” explained Sarah Williamson-Broadman, VCS Dean of Faculty. “The fact that over 100 upper schoolers and 120 lower schoolers and their parents will be helping today is hugely impactful for the school and for the children that will receive this food.”  

“One of the things that I want our students to understand is that hunger doesn’t have a face,” she continued. “Food insecurity can affect any kind of person. My hope is that a day like this instills a lifelong passion for giving back.”  

VCS photo 1A VCS student proudly holding a bag of food she packed. 

As the day unfolded, you could see this passion igniting in the hundreds of bright-eyed students gathered around tables stacked with shelf-stable goods and snacks. They packed their bags with care, asked thought-provoking questions of our Food Bank team leaders, and took time to reflect on the communities their efforts would be nourishing.  

“I come from a fairly privileged family, so I’ve never really had to worry about where my next meal is coming from,” explained a VCS eighth grader. “But it’s important for us to recognize that many of our neighbors do have to worry about that and do have to go through these hardships. I feel lucky to be able to help people, especially people my own age.”  

VCS photo 2Food Bank Director of Corporate Engagement Jessica Presedo stands with over 1,000 packed bags of food.  

With school about to end for students in New York City this month, it’s important to remember that many of our city’s children will no longer have access to the free breakfasts and lunches they’d normally receive at school. Food Bank’s Campus Pantry Program works to close these gaps by providing students with fresh, nutritious food all year long.  

To support our Campus Pantry Program and the estimated 1 in 3 NYC kids currently facing food insecurity, consider giving to Food Bank’s Summer Hunger Campaign. Each donation helps us to serve our youngest neighbors with the dignity they deserve.  

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