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Preschoolers make meals for homeless

January 10, 2004|by WANDA T. WILLIAMS

Five-year-old Zachary McClure admits he doesn't understand the plight of the homeless.

But he's sure of one thing.

"I know that God loves everyone," he whispered as he and fellow preschoolers spent Friday morning preparing vegetable soup to help feed up to 70 people at the cold weather shelter at St. John's Episcopal Church on Prospect Street.

The church has sponsored the shelter in the past in partnership with REACH (Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless), but this is the first year the church's preschoolers have prepared a meal for people using the shelter.

"When we learned that our church would be sponsoring the cold weather homeless shelter, we thought it was a good idea for our students to learn a lesson in kindness," school director Beth Adams said.

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Using donations from parents, students purchased ingredients to prepare fresh vegetable soup, corn bread, snack bags, homemade cookies and other goodies.

"Food can help keep them alive," said 5-year-old Sarah Whiley as she used her small plastic knife to split a celery stalk.

Friday's typically are 'Cook A Book Day,' when students read recipes, build math skills by measuring ingredients and work on social skills like sharing and teamwork, teacher Penny Worthington said.

While many of the students have never met or seen a homeless person, their young minds grasp the concept of giving and sharing, Adams said.

Friday's project reinforced classroom instruction.

"It's an important part of their social development," teacher Linda Brady said. "We learn how to share with one another, and this hands-on exercise in cooking allows students to share with people outside the classroom."

"We used milk with eggs and we made the corn bread, and then Mrs. Brady put it in her stove," said Maureen Rath, 4, of Hagerstown.

From Jan. 18 to Feb. 8, the cold weather shelter will move to Trinity Lutheran Church at 115 Randolph Ave. St. John's Lutheran Church on Potomac Street will house the shelter from Feb. 8 to Feb. 22.

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