Isabel Hungerford and another eighth-grade student at Lyman Moore Middle School were recognized by the Portland Board of Public Education and Portland Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk this month for their work to help community families to be more food secure.
Caulk said that in the spring of 2014, the two girls were asked to use a global education framework to study a health problem in the community. The global education framework includes research on a chosen topic, investigation into perspectives, communication with stakeholders and implementation of an action plan based on the first three parts. The girls chose food insecurity in Portland.
As a result of their research, they found that close to 60 percent of their peers live with food insecurity. Appalled at this statistic, they organized a successful food drive for the Preble Street Resource Center. “They did not, however, stop there,” Caulk said.
In eighth grade, both girls agreed to present their findings to staff members and serve as compassionate ambassadors. They continued to pursue solutions, and in October of 2014, Moore opened a food pantry and care closet accessible to anyone in the school.
Families and businesses from the entire community contributed. At the kickoff, which featured a schoolwide community walk, the school collected in excess of 1,000 items and more than $1,000 to get the pantry and closet up and running.
“Thanks in large part to these girls – with their compassion, communication, and care – Moore families can now be more food secure,” Caulk said.