Panama City - Crop Walks will be held over the next several weeks in many cities to collect food for those in need. In Panama City, the Crop Walk is this Saturday at McKenzie Park. Organizers of the local walk are focusing on an item found in almost everyone's kitchen: peanut butter. And that has captured the imagination of students at Southport Elementary.
"I'm bringing in peanut butter for people who don't have it and they live in their cars," said Lilly Gay, a second grader. "I brought in 16 jars of peanut butter," said Brody Pfledl, a first grader. Hundreds of jars of peanut butter line the walls of the music room, all of them donated by students and their families, many of whom could benefit from assistance themselves. A Title One school, nearly 65% of Southport students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Music teacher Mrs. Hawley says one student shared with the class that his power had been shut off. "A week later that kindergartner showed up at my door with a jar of peanut butter. Now that is a testament to the power of service learning. When we are in those situations ourselves, when we need help, it makes us more sensitive to the needs of others," said Hawley.
This peanut butter drive is just one of Southport Elementary's many community projects. As a service learning school they've done everything from shipping supplies to orphans in Afghanistan to nursing injured eagles back to health. "We serve a community that historically has not had a lot of resources available to them, but every time we do a service learning project our children overwhelm us with their generosity and their commitment to making the world a better place," said Mrs. Hawley. "It makes me feel really good because I'm helping other people," said Lilly Gay.
It's not too late to donate peanut butter. You can help Southport Elementary get closer to their goal of 1,000 jars by dropping off your donation at the school before the end of the day Friday. Or you can bring it to the Crop Walk at McKenzie Park Friday morning. Registration is at 8am, the walk starts at 9.