The New Trier sophomore class packed 3,000 lunches and 3,000 hygiene kits to deliver to surrounding shelters during their annual day of service on April 3. About 1,000 students and 50 adults spent the morning at the Winnetka Campus working with #HashtagLunchbag, an organization that works to empower and inspire humanity to give and share their efforts through the use of social media. The organization creates and uses bagged lunches, complete with love messages, to promote hunger relief in local communities.
The sophomore class received financial donations and supplies through various partnerships and parent volunteers to make the event possible, Sophomore Adviser Chair Ted Koulentes said.
Stepan Chemical, a chemical company in Northfield, donated close to $1,000, and a few employees volunteered at the event. Stepan also worked with Clean the World, the world's largest organization recycling hotel soap, to lower their price on an order of soap and shampoo for the hygiene kits.
Expert Hosiery provided a discounted price on 3,000 pairs of socks, while Quest Food Services and their distributor, Gordon Food Services, donated a refrigerated truck and helped order all of the food to pack the lunches. Quest Food Services also allowed the sophomore class to use their facilities during the day.
Ebony Washington is the Chicago-area leader of #HashtagLunchbag and worked closely with New Trier in planning the Sophomore Day of Service, along with the sophomore class, their advisers, sophomore Adviser Chairs Koulentes and Julie Smith, and Adviser Chair Assistant Peggy Ono. In addition, the sophomore New Trier Parents' Association (NTPA) helped gather parent volunteers to assist with the event.
"When you have 1,000 students in the room, they bring a level of energy that is unlike any force you can imagine," Koulentes said. "I was so in awe of the work they did and saw this as yet another example of young people in our country leading the way to a brighter future."
Jim Reardon, a retired special education teacher at New Trier, works closely with the homeless community on the North Side and helped put New Trier in touch with shelters. He and his wife Carol Bobrow, who is also a retired New Trier teacher, also attended the event and helped pack kits.
#HashtagLunchbag meets every last Saturday of the month to make lunches for Chicago's homeless community and provide hope in the form of bagged lunches. You can find them on Facebook at facebook.com/hashtaglunchbagchi and Twitter at @HashtagLunchbagChicago.