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Cottingham Food Bank Outreach Project

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The Grade 4/5 students at Cottingham Junior Public School were provided with an opportunity to support a food bank in their community while gaining real-world, cross-curricular, experiential knowledge and learning.

Avenue Road Food Bank (ARFB), which is less than a 10-minute walk away from the school, opened its doors every Wednesday to Grade 4/5 student volunteers. Student volunteers signed up to help sort food and learn about the ever-growing needs due to food insecurity. Volunteers returned to class and shared what they learned with their classmates.

The children were inspired to do more than volunteer once a week, and they learned that the food bank needed reusable bags and egg cartons, they designed awareness posters and created an interactive display for the school, pictured below. As a result of this campaign, hundreds of bags and egg cartons were delivered to ARFB.


Display of reusable bags and egg cartons students collected in school hallway.

After learning about the 250% increase in food bank customers, the Grade 4/5s decided to host a Student Fair Fundraiser to raise funds to support AFRB. After conducting a school census survey, students determined the following top ten products that students were interested in buying: baked goods, bracelets, claw machine with prizes, drinks, lollipops, mini store, Pokémon trading cards, popsicles, sports trading cards, and snacks. Pictured below, students analyzing data from their census.


Group of students in a classroom reviewing results from student census laid out on sheet papers.

Students attended workshops geared to helping the children learn how to create a business / marketing plan, and learned creating a business plan includes:

  1. Determining your target audience
  2. Setting a cost/profit margin/revenue;
  3. Developing an advertising proposal;
  4. Creating promotions (e.g., two-for-one deals; gift for first 5 customers, etc.) - see an example of one groups promotions below!
  5. Finalizing an outline of how they plan on display product

Students presented their business plans in a “Dragon’s Den” style to a panel of advisors who worked in the field of finance, marketing, and business, pictured below. Following receiving feedback, students made, sourced, and packaged products before hosting a preview of the Student Fair products for their classmates.


Students stand at the front of a classroom and present to a panel of adult business advisors.

The Student Fair was an awesome success with the Grade 4/5s raising $3,216 for ARFB! Below are photos from some of the booths at the Fundraiser.

Three students at a table selling bracelets for student fundraiser.

Three students at a table selling lollipops for student fundraiser.

Avenue Road Food Bank representatives also attended to show their support and presented the Grade 4/5s with certificates of acknowledgement, seen below.

Students stand in front of Cottingham Public School with certificates of acknowledgement presented from Avenue Road Food Bank.

During this outreach project, the children learned that they could make a difference in the community. They exercised several skills – creative thinking, critical thinking, research, oral communication, collaboration, organization, and much more. The Grade 4/5s learned Language and Mathematics curriculum expectations through real-world issues.

While the project was led by the Grade 4/5s, it encouraged participation from everyone in the school community, and provided an opportunity for student leadership and community involvement. This resulted in the following wonderful contributions to the Fundraiser:

  • A Grade 5/6 class crocheted frogs which resulted in a revenue of over $200.
  • A Grade 3 student made plastic ornaments out of melted beads as a donation.
  • An SK student hand-picked his best Pokémon and sports cards and donated them to the cause.
  • The Physical Education teacher made pom pom headbands in Cottingham’s theme colours.
  • All Grade 4/5 parents donated the products that their children sold at the Student Fair.

Despite the project spanning many months which involved long hours of hard work, the Grade 4/5s unanimously agreed that it was an enriching and rewarding experience. The common question among the students was: can we do this again every year?

The students continue to be eager to make a difference, and their determination is truly inspiring. Way to go Cottingham students!


An adult Food Bank volunteer and two students stand behind bags of food donations being presented to Avenue Road Food Bank.