The challenge was so simple a first grader could do it.
St. Luke School in downtown Columbus challenged its students to bring in canned and dry goods during a food drive to fill the pantry in time for the holidays.
Hundreds of cans and bags of food flooded in. On Tuesday morning, the students in first, third and eighth grades formed a human chain and passed the goods from one building to another.
The first graders donated the most items and the three classes got to vote on what they wanted Bill Shelnutt, head of the school, to do. He could either wear his pajamas to school or eat lunch in a tree.
Shelnutt was sentenced to eat his barbecue chicken sitting a few feet up in a maple tree on the corner of Third Avenue and 11th Street. And the first graders just ate it up as they passed by on the way back from lunch.
“We’re a school, but we do so much more than teach math, science and social studies,” Shelnutt said. “We like to say that we teach the heart of Christ in the heart of Columbus. We are teaching students what is the need and what is the social responsibility and what servant leadership means.”
And that is where a food pantry and having a little fun when it is done comes into play, Shelnutt said.
“These are the kinds of life lessons we hope to teach using the human chain and the food pantry,” Shelnutt said. “Even something as seemingly silly as climbing a tree and eating lunch is a reminder of our civic responsibility.”
As Shelnutt sat in the tree, students stopped by and laughed, teased him and even took pictures.
But something else moved Shelnutt. It happened earlier when the food was moving from point A to point B, through many hands.
“It was going from first to third to eighth graders,” Shelnutt said. “Then they started chanting, ‘Feed our friends.’ All of them. It was special to see.”