Modesto Christian schoolkids lead with their hearts

naustin@modbee.comFebruary 14, 2014 

    alternate textNan Austin
    Title: Education reporter
    Coverage areas: K-12 education, Yosemite Community College District
    Bio: Nan Austin has been a copy editor and reporter at The Modesto Bee for 24 years. She has an economics degree from CSU Stanislaus and previously worked at the Merced Sun-Star and Turlock Journal.
    Recent stories written by Nan
    On Twitter: @nanaustin

Modesto Christian School fourth- and fifth-graders take the holiday of love to heart, celebrating Valentine’s Day by giving food to the hungry and learning about less fortunate lives.

“This has been an ongoing project for nearly 10 years,” said fourth-grade teacher Teresa Pahl. “It is a way for students to know that they can make a positive difference in the world, not just when they become adults.”

On Friday, students went to WinCo with $5 in hand, plus whatever they brought from home, to buy fresh produce and salad fixings to take to the Modesto Gospel Mission. There, they toured the center and heard about the needs of those it serves.

“They learned that students use the children’s center at the Gospel Mission after school because some do not have heat or electricity at home,” said Marisa Meeks, development director at the school.

“They learned that they can volunteer at the mission on their own and with their families anytime and several took volunteer forms home to their families,” she said. After the mission, students went to the Salvation Army, where kids packed boxes with 30 packages of dry goods and 40 cans of food.

“I liked filling and stacking boxes because it felt like I was really helping people,” said fifth-grader Jacob Tognotti. “I felt sad knowing that there are kids like me who are homeless. I wish no one was homeless, but sadly some are.”

“We want to see our students grow beyond the classroom,” Meeks said. “It is an opportunity for students to have new experiences and teach them about the community they live in.”

Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter @NanAustin.

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