Standing behind their tables, the little kindergarten chefs watch as students and teachers approach.
They stand with grins on their faces and chef hats on their heads, as the assorted goodies they helped make sit on the table in front of them.
Each cookie, brownie and cupcake has a matching color scheme that includes pinks and reds to celebrate Valentine’s Day — although it could also be said the colors match the warmth and heart that each child put into these sweets.
These snacks were for more than just items for a little bake sale. They were made and sold to help raise money for St. Margaret Mary Catholic School’s sister mission in Jacmel, Haiti.
“Our real purpose is to teach the children about the children in Haiti and to be able to reach out and help others,” Principal Kathleen Walsh said. “And to know that not everybody is like us — that people are different and their lives are different.”
Walsh said last year, the kindergarten student’s bake sale raised just over than $1,000, which went toward helping to build a school in Jacmel — a port city on the southern coast of the Caribbean nation. In previous years, money went to help buy things such as furniture and a latrine.
Although the total from this year hasn’t been tallied, this year’s money is planned to be used for educational materials such as books, Walsh said.
The church has had its mission in Haiti now for going on 13 years, and the help from the money raised is overseen by one of the church’s five committees.
“Our school has supported the mission since its inception, and as a part of that, we do this bake sale, but we have many other things, too,” Walsh said. “We do a monthly Haiti lunch day, which is a fundraiser of beans and rice and bananas, and that raises approximately $1,000 a month as well. All of our money, has been used over the years for different things, but all have been impactful toward education and the children in Haiti.”
The simple idea of a bake sale to help their sister mission in Haiti — the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere — came nearly a decade ago, when kindergarten teachers began discussing ideas with other teachers.
“They had been networking with other kindergarten teachers and heard about a bake sale, and they took that model and did it and decided to do the dimes, and also decided that every year it would go toward the same cause,” Walsh said. “But it was definitely a grassroots effort by the teachers.”
When Walsh mentions dimes, she is referring to the way the bake sale is organized. Each item is sold for an amount that can be bought in increments of 10 cents.
So the idea is not only are the kindergarten students at St. Margaret Mary learning how to give back and help, but also doing so in an educational way that helps build mathematic abilities.
Although many kids would find it hard to have fun with math, attaching the concept of skip counting to such a fun little project makes it feel much less like a chore, Walsh said.
This lesson in humanity and mathematics is something that Walsh hopes will help open the worldview of these students, as well as future kindergarten students.
“If you asked any of our students to tell me something about Haiti, our children know about the country of Haiti and the people and their plight,” Walsh said. “We try hard to build relationships — we send notes back and forth so our children can learn of other children and other cultures, and learn there is more to the world than just here.”