Spartan Lunch Becomes More Hands-On


Dr. Monroe and Ms. Gibson together with the bags of food members of the PDS community assembled.

Katie Jain, Online Editor in Chief

Yesterday, the Service Learning team, composed of Margie Gibson, Beth Hatem, Tarshia Griffin-Ley, Amanda Briski, and Elizabeth Monroe, along with numerous others who came by and put in time to help out, worked outside the PDS Campus Center, packing around 400 children’s dinner bags, organizing over 100 food pantry items, and fundraising more than $200 for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. 

For 4 days out of each year, the PDS faculty and staff used to pay for their own lunches, and that money in exchange went to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK), a system referred to as the Spartan Lunch, which acts to remind the PDS community of its privilege and good fortune in addition to helping out those that need it more. 

Volunteers busy at work assembling bags

This year, however, the service learning team thought of new ways to make Spartan Lunch more of a hands-on and direct service activity in order to continue PDS’s partnership with TASK while educating the PDS community on work many do not even know occurs. Instead of taking that money out of the teachers’ lunch budget, the Spartan Lunch was conducted solely on food and cash donations from the PDS faculty and staff. 

Though there had previously been concerns regarding whether the old Spartan Lunch was the best way to gather funds for TASK, this new focus and overall effort was considered a success by many, helping to address food insecurity in our community. The event finished sooner than expected, which Dr. Monroe believes was because of all the help they received from faculty and students. “For example, the Bridges team made a significant impact in the project, and different faculty and staff from Colross and the middle school all came together. The work went by so fast because we had so many willing people,” she remarked, referencing in appreciation all the members of the community who stopped by, decorated bags, did research on food insecurity, packed bags, and helped out with setup and cleanup.

When later asked about his participation in the event, Bridges member Harjap Singh noted, “Helping out with TASK was a great way to work with the community and take action, even if small, to benefit others.”



Correction 1/23/20: 

The line “which acts to remind the PDS community of its privilege and good fortune in addition to helping out those that need it more” was originally a quote misattributed to Dr. Monroe. 

Correction 1/26/20:

It has been clarified that teachers no longer need to pay for their lunches on four days each year, a fact which previously was not evident. Additionally, Amanda Briski has been added to the list of members of the Service Learning team.