South Orangetown Central School District

In just two weeks, William O. Schaefer Elementary School families donated nearly 1,500 cans of soup for the SOCSD Food Pantry! This community service effort was spearheaded by WOS Student Leaders who promoted the “Soup-er Bowl” Soup Drive in each of their first- and second-grade classrooms to support their neighbors in need. 

 Leading up to the drive, Family Engagement Coordinator AJ Walker met with the Student Leaders to share information about the SOCSD Food Pantry and how they could get involved. “Having enough food to eat is super important because it helps you concentrate. It’s hard to learn if you’re hungry,” said Student Leaders advisor and Enrichment/Math RTI teacher Robin Courtwright.  Student Leaders shared what they learned with their classmates, encouraged their support and even helped to organize donations and load the delivery truck!  

Although the class that collected the most cans earned extra recess, the Student Leaders were more focused on making a difference. “I feel really good by helping people in our community and collecting food for families that need it,” noted Student Leader Mia G.

 In addition to the Soup-er Bowl, SOCES PTA collaborated with both elementary schools on a campaign to collect “Birthday Bundles” to provide families who rely on the SOCSD Food Pantry with baking supplies to make birthday cakes for their children. The inspiration for the campaign came from WOS teacher Jaclyn Nandlal, who was looking for an opportunity for her second-graders to make real-world connections with their social studies and character education lessons about community and empathy. “We talked about what it might feel like to not be able to celebrate a birthday. I talked to them about our SOCSD Food Pantry and shared my idea–and they wanted to get involved. SOCES PTA promoted the campaign to families at both elementary schools. It’s our way of “showing love,” said Nandlal. 

“Over the course of the year, a focus has been teaching our students about their community including how they can support and care for its members. These drives help to teach our students about the different needs of our community and what can be done to help those in need,” said Sheila Beglin, Principal of William O. Schaefer Elementary School. 

A special thank you to our students, families, and staff at WOS for their support of the SOCSD Food Pantry! If you would like to learn more about the SOCSD Food Pantry, please visit:

WOS Students Collect Birthday Bundles