Foster food drive nets more than 1,000 items for SHEM

Sean C. Morgan

Led by the fourth-graders, students from Foster Elementary School gathered more than 1,000 items during a food drive meant to kick off a new “Be Kind” program at the school.

“We’re a Be-Kind school,” said fourth-grade teacher Rachel Markell, and the school is organizing monthly activities to “be kind” as part of it.

“We just organized an all-school food drive,” she said. Kicking off the program, the fourth grade organized it through the community.

“We kind of did a food drive so we could bring food to school and take it to SHEM (Sweet Home Emergency Ministries) so the homeless people could go there so they could get some,” said fourth-grader Jordan House. “We had to count all the food.”

“And write down the number on the little wall,” said fourth-grader Peyton Markell, gesturing toward stacks of food sorted into piles by grade level along a hallway at the school.

To get the word out, the fourth-graders made posters to hang up around the school, House said, and then they gave out “paw” slips as thanks for donations.

“I think it’s important because if we didn’t do it, some people are maybe going to starve and maybe die in the world,” Peyton Markell said.

“I don’t like how homeless people don’t get food and don’t get to eat,” House said. “So we’re trying to be nice.”

All of the food will go to SHEM, which provides food boxes monthly to needy families in Sweet Home. It also provides Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets to families who need them, and food drives like this one help SHEM provide those boxes.

“A lot of kids here at Foster end up being the recipients,” Rachel Markell said. In some cases, they bring donations too, giving them a chance to realize that someone has to give the food their families receive.

A couple of students, Markell said, have told her they get food boxes from SHEM.

Next month, the third grade is planning a Be-Kind event that will focus on senior citizens, Markell said.

Be Kind is a program created by Drew Stevens of Henderson, Nev., and promoted through the Josh Stevens Foundation to remind people that there is a whole wide world in need of more acts of kindness. Stevens and the foundation want children and adults to know that people really do appreciate their kind actions even though most times they go unnoticed.

At school, the program rewards students for acts of kindness in an effort to create promote kindness and create a friendlier environment.

The program is supported by the foundation at individual schools at a net zero cost to the schools.

Drew Stevens has visited and spoken at Sweet Home Junior High and Foster, kicking off the programs there.

For more information about Be Kind, visit