October 27, 2010
The Baltimore Examiner
Meredith Bower

In 2009, students made and packed more than 1,500 lunches for Our Daily Bread.

At Garrison Forest School, Halloween means costumes and fun, and when it comes to treats, the girls in the lower school will be doing the giving. On Friday, following a costume parade, the Halloween spirit will transform into the spirit of giving as the students make and pack lunches for Our Daily Bread.

For the third year in a row, Garrison Forest’s first through fifth grades will celebrate Halloween by making bag lunches for Our Daily Bread, which serves more than a quarter million meals to the hungry of Baltimore City. By adopting a Halloween project of giving rather than receiving—“treats,” not “tricks”—Garrison Forest has created an event that embodies the values and culture of the school, which was founded 100 years ago this fall.

“Community service is an expectation rather than a requirement and begins with our youngest students,” notes G. Peter O’Neill, Jr., Head of Garrison Forest School since 1994. “Caring for the broader community was part of Garrison Forest’s earliest days and continues to be an important part of our school in the 21st century.”

The lunch-making project grew out of the second grade’s community service theme of nutrition. At Garrison Forest, first through fifth graders are given a theme to explore as a class. The students learn about the issue, present it during morning assemblies, and organize a related outreach project. Second-grade teacher Michelle Nelson read Uncle Willy and the Soup Kitchen by DyAnne DiSalvo (Mulberry Books, 2009) to her class, which inspired the division-wide lunch-making project.

“We thought it was a wonderful activity for the girls to provide nutrition for others,” says Mrs. Nelson.

The second grade has collected food for the past two weeks. On October 29, students, parents, and teachers will make various lunch components, and the second graders will bag every meal.  In 2008, the Lower School made 550 lunches, and last year the students packed more than 1,500 lunches – a number the girls hope to beat this year.

Our Daily Bread Hot Meal Program