Not Your Average Food Drive
DMC Middle School Students partner with Des Moines Refugee Support
When learning about immigration and refugees in their Global Studies class, DMC 7th grade students decided to take informed action to welcome and serve the refugee community in Greater Des Moines. The class held a food and coin drive, but with a twist. Food collected was culturally specific and meaningful for Burundian, Congolese, and Sudanese refugee families.
“As a class, we talked about how moving to a new country, with a new language, and a new culture can be scary. Having something familiar, like food items from your home country, can be a small way to help make the transition to life in America a little easier. Unfortunately many refugees face food insecurity,” Middle School Teacher Mrs. Heath said.
The donation wish list included everyday items like sugar, flour, and oil and more specific items such African flour mix, turmeric, and canned sardines. Many students visited United Market on Forest Ave. in Des Moines for an authentic experience to find these items. Students learned a lot from the store manager, who is also a refugee, as they shopped, and even decided to purchase some items to try for themselves!
The class raised $121 for Des Moines Refugee Support through the coin drive and brought two carloads of food donations to the free food pantry event at Deer Ridge Apartments in Des Moines on March 21. More than 20 DMC volunteers helped hand out food.
DMC student volunteer Moriah Godsey passed out mascara and helped bag items. She noticed a woman hanging back from the crowd and asked if she would like mascara. When the woman found out that everything at the pantry was free, she cried in relief and joy.
“Refugees can need help along the way. There are a lot of people who need food, not just refugees. Volunteering and holding this food drive was a great way for our seventh grade class to fulfill DMC’s mission, “ Moriah said. “I hope the food drive can continue in future years.”