A Friendly Competition to Help Feed Students at Morgan Elementary
By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
OCTOBER 26, 2018 – At Morgan Elementary, the Meals for Morgan program sends food home with 101 students who might otherwise go hungry.
As a way to help students while supporting the Core Values, Ashley Spencer, the fifth-grade teacher who serves as the school’s Core Values representative to the district, created a friendly competition to provide food for Meals for Morgan.
“I put everybody on a team,” said Spencer said.
Since Oct. 1, the teachers, secretaries, custodians and other staff members on each team have been bringing in nonperishable food items and placing them into their team’s container in the staff lounge.
“Everybody likes a good competition,” Spencer said. “Every single box was full the first day.”
School Counselor Amy Trinkle is the coordinator for the Meals for Morgan program. Many staff members have told their neighbors and fellow church members about the competition, Trinkle said, and a number of them have been sending in contributions as well.
“We have raised over 2,000 items in three weeks,” Spencer said. “This is our first year doing this. It was a different way to act out Core Values.”
As boxes fill up, Spencer has been counting the items and transferring them to a storage room. She is keeping track of the totals for each team, and, when the competition ends at the end of the month, everyone on the winning team will receive a prize.
The prize for each member of the winning team will be a cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate delivered by the eight students in the Coffee Cart Friday program.
Sarah Billups created Coffee Cart Friday as a way to help the students in her EC (Exceptional Children) class develop such life skills as talking with people and learning to handle money, and, on Friday mornings, her students have been delivering a morning beverage to staff members who order one.
When first-grade teacher Robin Atkins – who is also the Teacher of the Year at Morgan – stopped by the staff lounge, she said that likes that the competition supports both Meals for Morgan and Coffee Cart Friday.
Her team is definitely going to win the grand prize, she said.
“It’s on!” she said and smiled.
As for the Core Values the food drive supports, it clearly supports “Student-Centered.” It also supports the Core Value of “High Expectations” by helping to give students the food they need to do well in school, Spencer said.
“We want every student in this school to succeed.”
And by supporting the Core Value of “Collaboration,” it helps create a sense of connection among everyone on the staff.
“It shows that no matter what happens in your classroom, we are a team,” Spencer said. “We all have the same values as teachers, administrators, and office staff.”
Spencer has plans for other friendly team competitions in support of the Core Values, such as a blood drive.
In the past, Meals on Morgan has been supported by school parents and other individuals and by such churches as Clemmons Presbyterian Church and Holy Family Catholic Church, Trinkle said.
In past years, fewer students were being served, and the new competition helps enable the school to expand the program.
“We have so many children in need,” she said. “This brings tears to my eyes because I know our babies are taken care of.”
To read more about the program for the EC students, go to Coffee Cart Friday