MIDLOTHIAN — Midlothian ISD middle school students presented their project to help feed classmates in need at the city council meeting Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Frank Seale and Walnut Grove students in the Community Problem Solvers class chose Project CHEWY (Classmates Helping classmates Eat on the Weekends, Yum!) as their annual project. The group includes students Reese Alexander, Tifani Boucher, Dakota Butler, Chase Davidson, Haley DeSelle, Michael Jones II, Laney Seago, Zoey Taylor and Aubrey Walton.

Under the direction of their teacher Christina McDaniel, the students presented information about their project to the city council members.

“We came up with this idea for our project, because in elementary school there’s already a program (through North Texas Food Bank) that sends home food and in bags for kids that don’t get enough food on the weekends,” Walton said. “But it stops when kids to get middle school, so we thought that when they grow up they just need more foo. We decided to start this program for middle schoolers.”

Alexander delivered the Problem Solver’s mission statement for the project which is, “to establish a sustainable weekend food program for our classmates so they may have nutritionally appropriate food available to them on the weekend.”

However, these students need help collecting food donations to provide to their classmates. Monetary and food donations can be dropped off at during school hours at Walnut Grove Middle School, 990 N. Walnut Grove Road in Midlothian.

Items needed include Horizon organic milk (individual cartons), boxes of powdered milk, ramen noodles, canned meat (spam, vienna sausages, tuna fish or canned chicken); items need that to be individually packaged include granola bars, peanut butter or cheese crackers, variety of nuts, beef jerky, dried fruit, fruit cups, V8 drinks, goldfish-type crackers and oatmeal.

The Problem Solvers have already held two collection and fundraising events, the Grinch fundraiser and Spring Fling dance at WGMS.

“We plan to have several others (food drives) throughout the school year, and we are also asking local businesses around Midlothian to support monetary sponsorship of a classmate,” Butler said.

The students calculated that about $75 will feed a student for four weeks, and each bag contains up to 60 percent of daily nutritional value for a student.

Due to confidentiality laws, the Problem Solvers do not know which students benefit from their project by receiving bags. Also, the description of the bags is not being released, so students are not identifiable among their peers.

The Problem Solvers’ first group of bags went out the Friday leading into the Thanksgiving break.

As part of their project, the student researched how much nutrition male and female middle school-age students need to be healthy, they also calculated how many and which items to include in the bags to equal 60 percent of their daily needed nutrition.

“For the sustainability, CHEWY will be carried out by various community organizations like schools and churches,” DeSelle said. “First Baptist Church of Ovilla is currently providing backpacks and food for Walnut Grove, and we decided to work together and they can help to continue CHEWY when the school year is over.”

For more information about Project CHEWY or to donate, contact Christina McDaniel at christina_mcdaniel@midlothian-isd.net or 972-775-5355 ext. 1551.

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