This isn't a true sample in that I'm not using the yarn to be used in the project, and there most likely won't be any wandering yarn.
This was Spring Break week in Oregon. Which mean kids who depend on eating at school were possibly going hungry. The Marion Polk Food Share set up a lunch program throughout the Marion and Polk counties. Daily coolers loaded with ice, partially bagged lunches, sandwiches and milk were delivered to schools. Volunteers bagged the meat and cheese sandwiches, and milk, as kids came in the doors.
Ed and I agreed to help out a couple months ago. We're home all week and live only .5 mile from the school. It made for a very pleasant daily walk. We averaged 65 kids a day. We didn't ask any questions, the main point was to make sure anyone who wanted food would get it. Every day there were a few lunches left which were delivered to kids who weren't able to get to the school and to some of the needy elderly people in town. There was always a meat and cheese sandwich, raw vegetables, a fruit which was different every single day. Kiwi fruit today!
The door was open from 11am to 1pm giving kids plenty of time to pick up lunches. Ed was the counting man, I helped stuff bags. There was lots of time between kids for spinning and talking with the other people who were helping.
We were all bummed that the school only allowed us access to the gym rather than the cafeteria. But you see, the school district doesn't care about the kids of Scotts Mills.
Until 12 years ago the school was owned and operated by the people of this community. We had a very strong, solid school board with people who knew how to make good use of tax and timber monies. There were 11 full time teachers for this K - 8th grade school with 185 students, including a special ed teacher, and an excelerated teacher/counselor. Three teacher's aids helped in the classrooms, lunch room and playgrounds. There was a full time librarian, full time cook with a part time assistant (Mrs D was a fantastic cook who believed with all her heart in cooking from scratch. She was written up a couple of times in The Oregonian for her wizardry in the kitchen.) And we had a part time PhD (agriculture and mathematics) from Chile who helped with ESL and math. Oscar was a compassionate gentleman who was retired but wanted to make a difference. Rounding out the staff was the Principal/Superintendent, Janitor, and Secretary. Staff loved working here, and the school had very adequete funding to meet the needs.
In the early 1990s state legislature decided that small schools would be better served if they were consolidated into bigger school districts operated from the closest town.What a joke. We had no choice, most small schools were merged kicking and screaming into the consolidations. There went our ability to manage our community school. The new district does not care about Scotts Mills Elementary and they seem intent on shutting it down by downsizing and cutting back. They cut the librarian, counselor, ESL teacher and made the special ed a part time position. Grades have been combined so there are now only six full time teachers. And one of the worst moves was to take away our principal/superintendent. Now we have a part time principal who also oversees another small school about 7 miles away. It's the pits. Newer families to the area are encouraged by the district to send their kids to other larger schools. The irony is that our community has grown with many more families but there are only 125 students attending SM school. It is very sad to see what was once a proud vital part of our community ripped out of our hands and treated like a despised stepchild.
I had planned to write about the hungry among us. But it seems there have been enough words pouring from my thoughts. Hungry people are all around, feeding takes care of an immediate need but it is not the solution. The problem is systemic of a deeper, graver problem.
As we walked home Wednesday (Ha, you'd thought I'd forgotten!) we spotted kids in the city park eating their bagged lunches under the oak and fir trees.