Three PCA 7th Graders Launch Food Drive to Make a Difference During COVID

PCA Junior High girls step up and make an impact by helping the local community during the COVID pandemic

By Karin Best, PCA Volunteer and Mom

Helping people. That was the mindset of Portsmouth Christian Academy (PCA) 7th graders, Chloe Bosma and Erika Best, when their class was posed with the question “What do you want your legacy to be?”. While the girls individually thought of helping people, upon talking with each other, they realized they could help more people by combining their efforts. Erika and Chloe easily agreed upon a food drive, deciding to partner with local non-profit, Gather, located in Portsmouth, NH. Both students felt it was especially important to run a food drive given the large need for reliable food due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Hearing what her classmates were doing, Sophia Workman asked if she could join her friends to help with this service project. Teamwork quickly became an added bonus for the trio. Chloe shared that, “working with Erika and Sophia was incredible. We’re best friends, so it made the project more exciting and motivating.” 

The legacy question originated from the 7th grade culminating research paper asking students to ponder their own legacy while researching a person who has made an impact with their own legacy. Sophia chose to write about Susan B. Anthony, Chloe wrote about Princess Diana, and Erika chose Jackie Kennedy for her research paper. School-wide, PCA utilizes the Independent Investigative Method (IIM) teaching a step-by-step method for researching and writing a paper. This project provided students the opportunity to reflect on how humans can affect our world and, in turn, how they hope to affect their world. Each and every day PCA students are posed with ideas such as these, keeping in line with its vision statement of  “Christ-centered graduates impacting the world for good”.

With the desire to help those in the Seacoast area, the girls needed support in reaching their food drive goal, and the PCA community eagerly jumped into action! Students, parents, teachers, and staff all stepped up with the week-long food drive. As a result of abundant generosity, 524 items were collected, weighing a total of 581 pounds! Erika reflected that, “None of this would have been possible without the PCA community. Families took the time and made the effort to bring in donations. The staff at PCA helped so much too.”

In-person learning made an opportunity, such as this, a possibility this school year. Despite the pandemic, PCA was one of a handful of New Hampshire schools able to offer full-time, in-person learning to its students beginning in August and continuing through the remainder of the 20-21 school year. Staff, teachers, and parent volunteers worked tirelessly designing safety protocols and reconfiguring the school to provide the best possible learning experience for all students. Opportunities to learn and grow, similar to this service project, occurred this year due to the daily dedication of countless volunteers, faculty, and staff.

The group logged approximately 20 total hours planning and executing the food drive at school, with the vast majority of that time working together. Executing the service project allowed Chloe, Sophia, and Erika the opportunity to experience all the behind-the-scenes work involved: deadlines, teacher/advisor guidance, administrative approval, marketing school-wide flyers, communications (both verbally and electronically), meetings, collecting donated items, checking for expired food, and delivering to Gather.

The group worked closely with their English teacher/project advisor Miss Juliana Scott and PCA Lower School Principal Dr. Carrie Abood.

When asked to reflect on the service project, Scott said, “Erika, Sophia, and Chloe demonstrated their organization skills, their persistent determination, and most importantly, their kind hearts as they donated their time to a school-wide food drive. I am so proud of them. They are certainly leaving behind a remarkable legacy.”

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Volunteering is not a new concept for these young ladies, who all agree that age is not a factor when it comes to helping. In fact, they hope to inspire other kids. Sophia has helped at an eldercare facility, Chloe made cards for healthcare workers, and Erika donated hand-made blankets to the Salem Animal Rescue League for animals in need. They echo each other stating that as the next generation of volunteers, kids can make a difference because volunteering is fun and satisfying. Perhaps their hope to inspire other kids did work as it was the first grade that donated the most items. The future looks very bright with these kids ready and willing to help!