On March 28, more than half of the student body at Maple Place Middle School in Oceanport eagerly participated in an “Anything but a Backpack” donation drive to benefit Lunch Break, Family Promise of Monmouth County.
Last year, many students at Maple Place requested to have an “Anything but a Backpack” day where they replace their usual backpacks with an unconventional item to carry their school supplies, whether it be a laundry bin or a suitcase. In order to enjoy this desired event while also giving back to their community, the Student Leadership Club developed the idea of filling their “backpacks” with non-perishable items, including canned vegetables, soup, cereal, baby food and snacks.
Under the advisement of Renee Lisotto, the Student Leaders continued the event this school year at the end of March with much success. About a dozen boxes of non-perishable items were filled and delivered to Family Promise of Monmouth County, fulfilling their goal to help their surrounding community.
Located just minutes from Maple Place Middle School, Family Promise of Monmouth County is a program within Lunch Break that provides food, clothing, shelter and other services to those in need of assistance within the community. Through efforts such as those exhibited through the Student Leadership Club’s “Anything but a Backpack” event, Lunch Break can continue to impact society for the better.
The students also find immense fulfillment in their ability to make a visible difference in the lives of those around them. Sheriden Taylor, an active seventh-grade leader within the school club, noted that their community outreach “allows [them] to broadcast [their] ideas to help the community,” while working to “raise awareness and collect items for those in need.” Taylor, along with her peers, hopes to make a difference through fundraisers and donation drives like “Anything but a Backpack.”
Beyond this recent event, the Student Leadership Club also executed a variety of activities including a Halloween Costume Contest and making dog toys out of T-shirts. Alongside Lunch Break donations, the club also gives items to Blessing Bag Brigade, the SPCA of Monmouth County and the Bridge of Book Foundation as a means of further serving the community. Through impassioned events to help groups of people in need, the students are learning at a young age the importance of an innovative mindset and kindness to promote a brighter future for the community.