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A community culinary exchange: Mount Everett and Hong Kong exchange students cook up Food Assistance fundraiser

"I think that this program has been awesome," said 18-year-old student Nathan Tenbroeck. "Everyone here has made some great relationships in such a short period. It's great that we're all coming together to do something for the community.

Sheffield — Students from Mount Everett Regional High School, along with Hong Kong exchange students, organized a community dinner at the American Legion Hall, on Wednesday, April 10, as a fundraiser for the Sheffield Food Assistance program.

The students are all part of the school’s global education program, with students from the Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School. The program aims to address sustainable development goals as set forth by the United Nations. One of those goals is “zero hunger,” which students addressed in several activities in the program.

The students took part in field trips to Flying Deer Nature Center in East Chatham, N.Y., for a wild edibles workshop; learned about sustainable agriculture from representatives from Greenager; and toured the United Nations in New York City. The students also took part in an “empty bowls” fundraiser where they created pottery, which was sold at the community dinner to raise funds for the program. The clay for the pottery was donated by Sheffield Pottery.

Teacher Stephanie Graham was one of the co-organizers for the community meal. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

At the community meal, the students cooked up several kinds of soup for residents, along with salad and desserts.

Teacher and event co-organizer Stephanie Graham said the school’s program this year included 10 students from Hong Kong. “As part of the program, we looked at different approaches when it comes to solving hunger problems. We looked at different ways that countries and communities are creating food sovereignty.”

Graham said that the students looked at ways to address hunger on a small scale, “and how the solutions could be applied on a large scale.”

More than 50 residents turned out for the community dinner at the American Legion Hall. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
Some of the students who helped to cook and serve the meals at the fundraiser. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.

Graham said that having a theme taken from the United Nations’s Sustainable Development Goals gives the students a common purpose. “Having this purpose and having this experience allows us to form new friendships and learn things from others,” Graham said. “It makes all of us much stronger. One day, maybe one of our students will be sitting in the United Nations to help make changes.”

“I think that this program has been awesome,” said 18-year-old student Nathan Tenbroeck. “Everyone here has made some great relationships in such a short period. It’s great that we’re all coming together to do something for the community. It shows a lot of unity within our student body and our students from Hong Kong.”

“All of the exchange students that we had for this program have been all wonderful and respectful,” student Evelyn Volmer, 17, added. “It is important to collaborate with others with different ideas to help solve problems.”

Exchange student Nicole Wong, 14, said she has been inspired in a very positive way by the Mount Everett students. “This has been a great opportunity to be able to help people while being with people who are super nice, kind, and selfless,” Nicole said. “Mount Everett is such a nice place and a wonderful community.”

Some of the students who helped to serve soups at the community meal. Photo by Shaw Israel Izikson.
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