During the school holidays, the Service Society (made up of students from Years 8 to 11) volunteered with Puddle Jumpers, a non-profit organisation that provides food relief and other basics to families in need. The main focus of their operations is food delivery and distribution. Unfortunately, food insecurity is a prevalent issue in South Australia. By providing its services, Puddle Jumpers are addressing a genuine need in our community. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for this type of service.
It was a meaningful way to spend a couple of days, in which students learned about the issue of food insecurity and the warehouse operations of Puddle Jumpers, overcame challenges, and enjoyed themselves. When asked what the most enjoyable aspects of this experience were, some of the responses from students included:
“I enjoyed sorting the freshly arrived food, knowing that what we’re doing is going to make a direct impact on many lives. Each piece of food was a reminder that someone out in Adelaide is going to be fed and not going to sleep hungry. It was also fun collaborating with friends and meeting new people making it an enjoyable way to spend the holidays,” (Bailey Kerr, Year 10).
Another student offered: “What I enjoyed most from this experience was the opportunity to help those in need as well as learn about what goes on behind-the-scenes when it comes to Puddle Jumpers. I also enjoyed the teamwork involved in packing and loading the food to ship to the venues for later distribution.” (Sid Rachakonda, Year 10).
Alexander Piscioneri in Year 9 similarly stated: “I enjoyed how we worked incredibly well together as a group, managing to complete all jobs within the timeframe we had… I think it really knitted the society closer together as a whole”.
We learned many valuable lessons from this experience. First of all, volunteering at Puddle Jumpers showed many boys how lucky we are at St Peter’s College. During the first day, we sorted through the food that had been donated by Foodbank, supermarkets and bakeries. The food donated was supposedly “not fit for sale”, however most of the food still looked in good condition. It brought to our attention the amount of food that we waste collectively as a society.
The second day of volunteering we filled crates with food hampers to be taken to various distributions points that evening. We packed 100 hampers to be distributed in just one evening. It shocked a number of us that so many people couldn’t afford to eat. We rarely see this reality and volunteering at Puddle Jumpers helped us grasp how lucky we are. Alex Piscioneri shared his thoughts, which I think would be applicable to many at SPSC: “Given the community that I and others reading this article live in, it’s a good reminder that the larger portion of our lucky lives are composed of privileges and not rights”.
We overcame many challenges across the three days. On the second day, we had many tasks to complete. In order to solve this problem, half of the boys went and sorted bread into crates, while the other half packed fruit and vegetable bags. As a result, efficiency improved and our mutual sense of being able to effectively collaborate improved, even when splitting up. Another issue we encountered was when a truck came back with supplies that were unable to be taken. This meant we had to unload the truck again. Some boys generously stayed overtime to assist in unloading the truck to get the job done. It was a great display of character and bonded us as a team.
If you are interested in joining the Service Society, you can find out more here. Alternatively, you can email the Service Learning Program Coordinator, Ms Antonia Mackay at AMackay@stpeters.sa.edu.au.
Year 10 student