Will Tweet for Food: High School Students Raise Awareness for Lakeview Pantry
While you might think most high school teachers would do everything possible to keep their students off of Twitter during class, sociology teacher Scott Engstrom has taken a different approach.
For the month of April, Scott has encouraged his students at Curie High School in the Archer Heights neighborhood of Chicago to use social media for a purpose: to raise awareness about hunger and to inspire others to take action by donating food to Lakeview Pantry.
“The project is the culminating task associated with our unit on family and family structure,” says Scott. “The inspiration comes from the staggering number of kids who do not have enough to eat in the mornings and are not reaching the minimum caloric intake for an entire day.”
Scott has partnered with Lakeview Pantry to run a school-wide food drive. Seven Lakeview Pantry donation barrels have been placed around the school, and students are using social media to encourage their classmates and community to fill the barrels with cereal, canned goods and other non-perishable foods.
“The objective of the project is to spread the word about those that are food deficient and break the stereotypes associated with those who use food pantries and kitchens,” Scott explains.
Using handles like @StopHungerChi and @CurieCares2k15, students are both letting people know where they can donate and educating audiences about the reality of hunger in Chicago.
“One in every nine people on our planet go to bed hungry each night,” reads one Tweet.
“For every dollar you donate, you can feed 8 people,” says another – a reference to the fact that every dollar given to Lakeview Pantry can purchase 10 pounds of food or an equivalent of 8 meals.
In addition to social media, students are also using email, signage, bulletin boards and word-of-mouth to encourage donations. The goal of the project is to fill all 7 donation barrels by May 1.
“Overall, it has been a good experience,” says Scott. “It’s something that I see us doing again.”