Riverton Middle School students formed an assembly line early today in the RMS Media Center for the school’s Food For Break program. (Ernie Over photo) 

(Riverton, Wyo.) – “Isn’t this a great community we live in?” said Brant Nyberg early today at Riverton Middle School. Nyberg, RMS Assistant Principal, was one of many dozens, mostly students and some parents and grandparents, who formed an assembly line and put food bags together for students who may not have enough to eat over the holiday break. The project is called Food For Break and was a school and community partnership.

Nearly 20 cases of cereal were stacked up at one assembly point. (EO)

Nearly 20 cases of cereal were stacked up at one assembly point. (EO)

“We will put together 200 bags,” said the coordinator for the project, Nichole Schoening, of the RMS Parent Advisory Committee and a Special Ed Case Manager at the school. “The United Methodist Church spent $700 and is providing packs of peaches and applesauce, boxed cereal and instant noodle cups. The Central Wyoming College Student Ambassadors did a peanut butter and jelly drive along with the UMC for us and the Neighborhood Alliance Church conducted a canned food drive.” As Schoening was explaining, the Riverton Rotary Club delivered boxes of cocoa mix and a nice selection of knit caps, and eighth grade student Jared Sonnen showed up with a large case of SpaghettiOs. “We had all this extra at home, and I don’t like them,” he said, “so I brought it here to help other kids.”

Schoening said about $1,000 in cash donations came in from the community and the PAC only had to spend $300 of its funds to fill out the bags. “We bought the bags and the tortillas, everything else was donated.”

Packs of fruit and applesauce filled two big round tables. (EO)

Packs of fruit and applesauce filled two big round tables. (EO)

As the school buses began to arrive just after 7:40 a.m., students began pouring into the media center. It’s a Wednesday ritual as teachers have a special planning and collaboration time each Wednesday morning. Mostly eighth grade students go to the library during that time. As the room filled, Schoening got the student’s attention, volunteers and staff lined up behind each table of foodstuffs and the assembly process was explained. “One item from each table in each bag,” she said, asking the students to volunteer to help. They did.

The tables were a cornucopia of boxed and canned goods. There was tuna fish, three long tables of canned fruits and vegetables, soups, chili, two long tables of mac and cheese and other boxed meals, one table of granola bars, fruit snacks and cheese and cracker packs, plus the other products described above. The entire room was ringed with food. It was an impressive display and many of the students coming into the media center were heard to exclaim, “Whoa!”

Students hurried through the assembly in a blur, adding one thing at a time. (EO)

Students hurried through the assembly in a blur, adding one thing at a time. (EO)

“We’ll distribute these Thursday after school. We’ll put the bags in each of the pods (6th, 7th and 8th grades) and let students know before they go home if they need food to get through the holidays, to go an pick up a bag. It’s as discrete as we can make it so the kids don’t get embarrassed if they need the food,” Schoening said.