Students deliver ‘munch boxes’ to needy

  • Turners Falls High School students Samantha Bocon, Hailey Bogusz, Sarah Waldron and teacher Faith Kaemmerlen shop at the Food City store in Montague. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Turners Falls High School Rise Up teacher Faith Kaemmerlen, center, and Samantha Bocon, right, and Hailey Bogusz price food in Food City grocery store in Montague on Jan. 8. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Turners Falls High School Rise Up teacher Faith Kaemmerlen, right, points out price per quantity to her students in Food City grocery store in Montague. January 8, 2019 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • Turners Falls High School student Samantha Bocon, Sarah Waldron and other students hunt for a deal in Food City grocery store in Montague. January 8, 2019 Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

  • A “munch box” compiled by Turners Falls High School students is ready for delivery. Contributed Photo

Staff writer
Published: 1/30/2019 11:12:27 PM

MONTAGUE — Twenty-four prepackaged meals called “munch boxes” were delivered by students in the Turners Falls High School “Rise Up” class last week to needy families throughout the community.

Students used money they raised during their annual dodgeball tournament. Each munch box contained spaghetti, green beans, sauce, Parmesan cheese, ground beef, ready-to-bake garlic bread and homemade cookies, with portions based on students’ best guesses according to family sizes.

Faith Kaemmerlen, the teacher for the “Rise Up” class, said her students identify needs in the community, and then decide and implement the action that will help.

This year, students came up with munch boxes after learning about food insecurity, and they decided they wanted to help local families in need. She said students thought the munch boxes would be a way of being generous to a new family in town or, perhaps, to a family that had a difficult holiday. She said it was a way for students to be mindful. Recipients of the munch boxes were recommended by the school community.

“The class was tasked with giving something respectfully,” Kaemmerlen said. “They decided to keep the donations for families in the school district and get recommendations from the school community.”

On Friday, Dec. 7, the school’s annual dodgeball fundraiser raised $500 for the munch boxes, with 14 participating teams in two double-elimination brackets. A crowd of about 140 showed up for the event.

Using the money raised for the event, the class took a field trip to Food City in Turners Falls, and with the help of Kaemmerlen, the group learned how to evaluate different options for food, the differences between brand names versus store brand items and unit prices.

Junior Journey Smalls said she thought the most challenging aspect of making the munch boxes was all of the calculations the group had to do.

“The challenges were figuring out the price of food, and how many families we could give to,” Smalls said. “It’s a lot of math.”

Similarly, junior Hailey Bogusz said she found planning and organizing the meals to be more challenging than she anticipated.

“We had be smart about what items we were purchasing,” senior Sam Bocon said. “We looked at a lot of options and wrote them down, then compared what the least expensive option was.”

But despite the challenge of learning how to budget a meal, the class said it felt gratified to make the munch boxes.

Senior Sarah Waldron, an intern for the class and a student of last year’s “Rise Up” class, said she was excited the class was directly involved with the munch boxes.

“Last year, we raised money and donated it to an organization,” Waldron said. “This class — we picked the items ourselves. It’s challenging, because there is more planning and organization, but it’s more rewarding. We delivered the boxes ourselves. We can see the effect of helping people, and the local grocery store, too.”


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