PORT CHESTER, NY - On Thursday, August 13th at 7am, The PC Hunger Fighters, a group of Port Chester High School STEER student-athletes, gathered at the Drew St. senior apartments ready to pitch tents, unload and sort food donations, and make sure their public operation would adhere to current CDC guidelines.
Leading up to Thursday, the students had spent over two months preparing for their Free Farmer’s Market event through the framework of STEER’s Project-Based Learning program; as part of the program, students develop a project of their choice while they participate in a leadership course through Lead 4 Change. Made possible through STEER’s Work to Learn fund, students are compensated for their participation in the course with a stipend encouraging them to engage in relevant and meaningful experiences that incorporate both education and work.
The PC Hunger Fighter’s formed in 2019 as part of STEER’s first Project-Based Learning program cohort. That summer, the program participants identified food insecurity as one of the strongest issues facing their peers and social circles in the community. The students successfully installed vertical gardens in the Weber Drive Community Garden to provide an extra source of food for the housing residents. The group earned national recognition for their summer work and was named one of seven Summer 2019 Lead4Change Student Leadership Award winners.
Our 2020 program has expanded the capacity of the PC Hunger Fighters. Given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the students chose to continue their efforts towards combating the growing issue of food insecurity in Port Chester. The PC Hunger Fighters met virtually twice a week to establish their goals, outline a vision for their market, and connect with donors and partners as far as New Paltz, NY. Donations received included fresh fruit and vegetables, pantry staples, and dairy products. Over the summer, the full group met in person only on the day of the event. The PC Hunger Fighters distributed food to over 350 families in Port Chester including seniors, school district families, and community members who heard of the event via the students’ extensive social media marketing campaign.
As 2019 showed, the PC Hunger Fighters are committed to spreading awareness for the issue of food insecurity in their community. This summer they plan to continue to help their community by volunteering their insight and energy to other local food distribution events.