World Studies project will help feed the hungry

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

CLASSROOM FOR TWO — Kelsey Fadden, left and her best friend Miranda Cady made tuna finger rolls Monday at Crosswalk Community Outreach at the Naples Town Office. The Lake Region High School juniors say they are learning firsthand how many residents of Casco, Naples, Sebago, Harrison and Bridgton depend on the mission’s twice-monthly food distribution and mealtime. (Geraghty photo)

NAPLES — Two Lake Region High School juniors are learning firsthand about hunger in their hometowns, and will be going door-to-door to do something about it.

Kelsey Fadden and Miranda Cady will be leaving 500 Hannaford bags on the doors of homes in Bridgton, with a note with their picture, explaining their project and asking for at least one canned food donation. They’ll pick up the bags a week later, and donate the food to Crosswalk Community Outreach in Naples, which serves Casco, Naples, Sebago, Harrison and Bridgton with twice-monthly food distribution and meals at the Naples Town Office.

It’s a simple idea with a big impact — similar to the annual food collection done by the U.S. Postal Service — and one that any high school student with a car can do, the girls said. They want to challenge other students, throughout the state and nationally, too, to follow their example.

“We want (fellow students) to see how volunteering can be — that one person can make a difference, either a small difference or a big difference,” said Kelsey.

This past weekend, the Bridgton Post Office workers collected 1,500 pounds of food during their annual drive to fill the shelves of the Bridgton Food Pantry, which has been hard-hit by a 50% cutback in federal funding.

Kelsey and Miranda have been working with Crosswalk Secretary Joanna Moore on the project, and both of them say Moore has taught them a lot about local food hunger and food insecurity. Before coming to the Naples Town Office to see Crosswalk’s operation firsthand, all they knew was that there were a whole lot of cars at the town office on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The mission serves around 125 families at each of these distribution days.

The two girls, who have been best friends since seventh grade, chose the project for their Academy of World Studies class, where the teaching team challenged students to come up with a project that would have some impact environmentally, globally or financially.

“They decided to do something locally, and they’ve really planned it out,” said their science teacher, Mark O’Connor. The 85 juniors and seniors in the Academy of World Studies class formed teams of two, and each team was charged with coming up with, and then executing, a project that would have a positive impact on the community or world. One team is gathering sneakers to ship to Africa, he said.

“They’ve taken to the projects with gusto,” said O’Connor. “So far, so good. The project is just awesome in the teachers’ eyes.”

Miranda is the daughter of Alyssa and (stepdad) Phil Delvecchio of Casco. Kelsey, 16, the daughter of Matt and Cathy Fadden of Bridgton, came up with the idea from her father, who led an annual “Scouting for Food” door-to-door food collection effort as Scoutmaster for Bridgton’s Boy Scout Troop #149. That food was donated to the Bridgton Food Pantry at the Bridgton United Methodist Church.

This is the high school’s first year of instituting an academy model of teaching, which is designed to encourage students to develop executive thinking skills that will help them when they move on to college, O’Connor said. Along with the Academy of World Studies, there is an Academy of Design and an Academy of Engineering. The courses are embedded in the belief that self-monitoring fosters the development of critical thinking skills.

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