Deal Students Take a Lunchtime Break to Help Needy DC Residents 

Dec. 8, 2011

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After tucking their ponytails into hair nets and snapping their hands into sanitary gloves, Alice Deal Middle School students lined up in front of food stocked tables at noon, ready to begin.

Since Monday, Deal partnered with DC Central Kitchen in an effort to devote the spare time in students’ lunch periods to preparing food for the homeless. Today, Councilmember Mary Cheh joined them in the effort.

The students were soon divided into bread, cheese, turkey, granola bar, fruit, water, and brown paper bag teams. Two boys, assigned to the turkey section of the assembly line, grinned at each other and slapped high five. “Alright!” they laughed enthusiastically, “let’s do this.”

Using the organized assembly line model, Deal students packaged their 1,000th brown bag lunch this week. While this was a fun activity, the students were focused on the importance of their task and the value of their teamwork.

According to Interim Principal Albright, sandwich packaging was born in response to the students’ voices. “At the end of the year, all our students do a community service day. They told us, ‘We want to do more, we want to do more!’ This program gives them the opportunity to make an impact.”

He added, “Middle School is a very important time to foster service and initiative.”

Brian MacNair, Chief of Development for DC Central Kitchen, agreed. “The lunch making helps the kids do service while also providing nourishment to the local community.”

When the last brown bag was packed (the efficient team of students finished in under half an hour), Councilmember Cheh said she had a great time making meals with the children. “This is about encouraging service in students early, for the benefit of their community, but also for themselves,” she said.

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