Interact Club is a weekly Co-Curricular Activity offered by St. Martin’s. A club run by local Rotarians, it aims to inspire young leaders through service and encourages them to become responsible global citizens. Normally meant for 12-18-year-olds, SMPA’s Interact Club, the first at a middle school in Connecticut, was founded by Lynda Hammond 11 years ago.
Interact is co-lead by Lucy Andrade from the Derby/Shelton Rotary Club and Fred Hulley and Trish Pearson from the Orange Rotary Club.
“The kids wanted to do a food collection and donate to an organization where it would make a difference,” said Ms. Pearson, so they invited Susan Brown, founder of Purple Pantry to speak to the Club.
Purple Pantry is an all-volunteer food distribution group which supplies food primarily to homeless people who are “outside the system”. Ms. Brown explained that they help food insecurity by offering easy access to staple food items. There are Purple Pantry food boxes located in West Haven, Milford and Bridgeport where people can drop off or get food. The pantries are stocked each day by volunteers who depend upon the donations provided through food drives.
After Ms. Brown came to speak with the students, they really wanted to help the people served by this grassroots organization. Jeremy, Class of 2030, and president of the Interact Club, said he wanted to hold the food drive, “…so we could help people who are less fortunate than us.”
For two months, they collected non-perishable food items, advertised the project, distributed flyers, put up posters and announced it at Morning Gathering. Members of Orange and Derby/Shelton Rotary Clubs also helped to collect food.
“I am so proud of how they planned and executed this project,” said Ms. Pearson.
“We did it to care for other people that needed it. It was hard getting all of the stuff, but I was happy when we did, ” said Amari, Class of 2030.
In addition to the food drive, students also collected toiletries for two homeless shelters in Bridgeport. They filled 60 bags with shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, nail kits, razors, shaving cream, soap and more. There were also bags filled with snacks and water.
“It was inspirational,” shared Na’Miah, Class of 2030. “It taught me how to be a better citizen.”