It started with classes from grades four and five taking a field trip to the Bedford Food Bank once a year.
This year, students from Lt. Job Lane Elementary School are being challenged by the school's faculty to raise 1,128 non-perishable food items, or 47 from each class, before Super Bowl XLVII this Sunday.
This "Soup-er Bowl" is an extension of an ongoing project Lane students take part in to collect, count, deliver and organize donations for the Bedford Food Bank, according to Lane School Vice Principal Keith Kinney.
"The idea is to have one really big drive that can bring to light giving back to the community," Kinney said.Looking for updates on what's happening in Bedford education? Subscribe to our newsletter, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Kinney introduced the idea of the "Soup-er Bowl" to Lane School this year, an idea he brought with him from the time he spent as a teacher, where the donation drive during Super Bowl week was always a "roaring success with students."
Last Thursday, the first day of the "Soup-er Bowl," students brought in 100 items for the drive, according to Kinney. Students will bring in donations throughout this week, with the class who accrued the most donations to be announced this Friday, Feb. 1.
The project stems from an effort by Bedford educators to instill a sense of community in students starting at the Kindergarten level, according to Kinney.
"We always focus here at the Lane School on building a sense of community in our students," Kinney said. "It starts in kindergarten, and then in third, fourth and fifth grades we build upon those roots that tie students to the community."
Projects that focus on the relationship between student and community start in kindergarten classes at Lt. Eleazer Davis Elementary school with the "Davis Town" project.
"Students begin to develop an understanding of their local community, what role an individual can play in both their school and the Town of Bedford," Kinney said.
The importance of community engagement is emphasized at every grade level, all the way up to Bedford High School, where students must meet a community service graduation requirement.
"When a child enters school the idea of understanding community is a priority," Kinney said. "As our students progress through school age years, any community involvement thatcan be fostered supports our students understanding of how our world around us works."
In addition to the goal of fostering a sense of community in students, participating in donation drives such as the "Soup-er Bowl" contributes to self-confidence and positive self-image in students, according to Kinney.
"As a school community by reaching out locally to the Bedford community, our students are more likely able to develop a more positive self-image from the good feeling of simply doing the right thing- helping others," Kinney said.