On a cold rainy day in February, the Hillview Middle School Service Club set out to help their community by delivering hot food to the homeless. Locals that day may have seen a group of nine children walking with steaming bags of food. But what they didn’t see was the story behind it, the way this group came to be, and the effort put into this project.
The story begins a warm August day, when a trio of boys decided to raise money for their school service club. All day they carried lemons in their backpacks; at lunch they squeezed them into lemonade, and after school they sold it. “We raised $75 from that lemonade stand,” recalls Peter Vitale, a service club member.
The group then started making smaller bags with Subway cards, water bottles, socks, granola bars, and guides to local homeless shelters. As they continued holding lemonade stands, which evolved into bake sales, the group decided to do more. “We want them to experience the feeling of a nice, homecooked meal,” states Sarah Marks, a member who helped cook meals.
One week, the group got busy. Children cooked many different hot gourmet meals. On a Saturday, they assembled the heated food into containers, organized their bags, and set out to make a difference. The Service Club covered a large terrain, ranging from the underpass at Woodside Road on 101 to the train station in Menlo Park.
The homeless were grateful and appreciative, offering advice to the Hillview students, such as “stay in school” and “always wear your bike helmet”. The children even delivered a bag to a former Hillview student, now in her 30’s. When asked what motivated them to serve the homeless, Claire Lange-McPherson, another Service Club member, commented “They know someone cares about them. And that feels good.”