COSTA MESA, Calif. — Today was a perfect Southern California day for students at Prince of Peace Christian School: warm, sunny, with a 100% chance of learning. Students from pre-school to sixth grade observed and tended their seedling crop. The young plants are three to four inches high and ready to be harvested and transplanted to a field where food is farmed specifically for the benefit of local families in need.

The seedling project is one of several projects planned with the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. This project began weeks ago when students prepared the soil and carefully planted cucumber, watermelon and zucchini squash seeds into a special garden on the Costa Mesa campus, located in the Mesa Verde Community.

Prince of Peace kids School Principal, Sherry Williams, described the experience as a lesson with several levels. “This was a neat experience to teach kids how they can help by growing food for local families who might not have enough to eat,” said Mrs. Williams. “We want them to be aware that there are many family situations where money goes to rent and utilities first and food is somewhere down the line.”

The planting project is the second activity with Second Harvest that Prince of Peace students have participated in for 2008. In February, the fourth-grade class traveled to a local farm to perform a gleaning, or second harvest. Food gleaned from the fields was provided to local families. The eager students gleaned over 1500 pounds of cabbage, and broccoli from Field of Greens Farm in Santa Ana. One fourth-grader remarked of his experience, “It was so much fun, and we got to take a fifteen minute strawberry break!”

Kathie LeCours, a Fourth-Grade teacher at Prince of Peace was the coordinator for both events Mrs. LeCours stated, “I had the opportunity in the past to see this field trip at work. It has a huge impact on the student’s learning. The students get a real feel for how agriculture works and what they can accomplish together.” Mrs. LeCours was delighted with the student response, as many remarked that this was one of their favorite field trips. Fifth- and sixth-graders are slated to return to the fields in May.

Sam Caruthers, Second Harvest’s Orange County Harvest Coordinator, introduced the fourth-grade teacher to the seed project. “I jumped at the opportunity to continue working with the Second Harvest Food Bank to help families,” said Mrs. LeCours. In addition she commented, “My students studied plants earlier in the year and they were able to connect what they learned in the classroom to practical application.” The hands-on experience provides children a powerful opportunity to observe the life cycle of plants, and understand cultivation and agriculture in a way that isn’t conveyed in textbooks.

Concurring with Mrs. Williams, Mrs. LeCours feels the program also empowers students to give of themselves through their actions. “They have giving hearts, but feel as they are kids they can’t do much. They can do a lot, and this really made them happy.” Mrs. LeCours says the kids look forward to a second gleaning trip toward the end of May.

About Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County
The Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County distributes more than 13 million pounds of food to nearly 390 local charitable agencies each year including 36 soup kitchens, 128 food pantries; and 25 emergency shelters. A member of America’s Second Harvest — the Nation’s Food Bank Network, Second Harvest provides emergency food assistance to nearly 74,000 children and 20,000 seniors in Orange County’s 34 cities. The Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County is located at 8014 Marine Way, Irvine, CA 92618. The website address is

About Prince of Peace Christian School
Prince of Peace Christian School is located at 2987 Mesa Verde Drive East, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Prince of Peace is dedicated to preparing children for higher education and higher purpose via accelerated academics integrated with a Bible-based curriculum and experience. Prince of Peace is currently enrolling for the 2008-2009 school year.

For more information contact the school office at 714-549-0562.

[tags]Prince of Peace Christian School, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County[/tags]