The blessing of food
● By Steven Hoffman
Local high school students involved with the Future Farmers of America program learned valuable lessons about budgeting for food expenses and the importance of giving back when a recent educational project included a donation of food to the Lighthouse Youth Center in Oxford.
Ryan King, an agricultural science teacher at Lancaster Mennonite High School who also serves on the board of the Lighthouse Youth Center, organized a project for about 45 students as part of the Farmers Care initiative of the Chester-Delaware County Farm Bureau.
King explained that $250 for the project was divided evenly between the four grades in the high school, so each group of students had $62.50 to spend on food for the Lighthouse Youth Center. Each weekday, the Lighthouse provides free meals for youngsters in the community. Amy Perkins, the administrative assistant with the Lighthouse, provided King with a list of some foods that the Lighthouse needs, and the students took the lead on purchasing as many of the items as they could.
“I thought this was a very good learning opportunity,” King said. “They got to see how much food costs, plus they learn to give back.
On April 28, King and three students from Chester County—David Lambert, Ethan Beiler, and Anna Reyburn—delivered the food to the Lighthouse.
King said that, as a teacher, he sees how important proper nutrition is for students. Hunger can be a big distraction for youngsters, and the Lighthouse provides an invaluable service by offering these meals to kids.
“Food is one way that we can help kids out—and spread the love of Christ as well,” King said.
Lighthouse Youth Center executive director Buzz Tyson talked about the importance of food donations like this.
“The blessing is that we can continue to feed the youth,” Tyson said, adding that youngsters also learn to prepare meals at the Lighthouse. One youngster whose love of cooking was nurtured at the Lighthouse, Ismael Lemus, studied at the YTI Culinary School and then gave back to the youth center by teaching evening classes on how to make pastries. Lemus has since started a job utilizing his culinary talents.
The Lighthouse, which was started in 1988, moved into its new home in Oxford earlier this year.