Students collect change to feed orphans

Published 6:29 pm Thursday, December 18, 2008

Every shiny copper penny Hunter Jones dropped inside his plastic bowl at school represented another grain of rice that would later fill the stomach of a child all the way around the world.

“Thirty–one dollars so far, Mrs. Meeks I’ve got $31,” Hunter Jones, 8, proclaimed to his teacher across the classroom. “Look, each row equals a dollar.”

Mary Meeks’ third grade class at Chelsea Park Elementary began filling plastic bowls with loose change a week ago. The money will provide meals to orphans through a ministry called Rice Bowls.

A full rice bowl contains about $30 in change.

Krista Guy decided she wanted her son Landon’s class to participate in the project long before they even knew what teacher he would have for the third grade.

“I knew this was something they could see – something they could touch and feel really involved in,” Guy said. “Its not just something their mom and dad wrote a check for. The kids have access to change and collect it themselves.”

The kids collected $169.33 to be exact.

Meeks said she wasn’t at all surprised because the kids carried so much enthusiasm for the project.

“They would come in every day and were just thrilled about how much change they had collected,” she said. “It’s good for them to get used to helping others and see the holidays from a different perspective.”

Meeks talked to the kids about being thankful throughout the week they collected change. She and Landon both were surprised by how much the kids understood.

“We asked them what they would ask for if they had no home or no clothes or no food,” Guy said. “Every child in here said they would ask for food! They understood why what they were doing was so important.”

Bowls of rice might not seem filling but to orphans in India, Haiti and Africa it might be the only meal they get, Guy said.

For more information about the organization, visit