FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – When Pew Bwe came to Fort Wayne from Thailand 12 years ago her family relied on the services of the Community Harvest Food Bank. Now Bwe and fellow students in the Lakeside Middle School Culture Club volunteer at the food bank to help others in need.
“When people come in, if it’s a mess it looks kind of bad but with our help everything is neat,” said Bwe. “They can easily get stuff and they can leave quicker which gets more people in and out.”
Each student in the Culture Club is under the instruction of Carolyn Bookmyer, a Fort Wayne Community Schools educator who teaches English as a second language at Lakeside Middle School.
“I teach international students and they come from all over the world,” said Bookmyer. “I’ve had kids from Zimbabwe, Russia, Columbia, Cambodia, Burma and Haiti. I want them to experience the culture and learn what a wonderful city they’ve found in Fort Wayne. So we do field trips every month. This month it was volunteering.”
“Mainly they’re working in Community Cupboards,” said Katie Savoie, Community Harvest Food Bank Marketing and Development Director. “Community Cupboards is a great opportunity for kids under 14 to be able to be involved in the community. They’re able to stock shelves for the people who come here to get food assistance for their families.”
Helping other families these students have become a family all their own. their teacher says despite cultural differences the culture they now share unites them. “It’s so exciting seeing them grow,” Bookmyer said as one of the students shed a few tears. “Seeing them grow and learn more English and become stronger and proud and helping others is wonderful. I call these kids my family.”
“We’re all working as a team to help,” said Bwe. “It’s not like big things you do but little things and they add up.”
You can follow the kids example by taking advantage of volunteering opportunities at the Community Harvest Food Bank. Click here for more information.