International School of Minnesota (ISM) students supported the local community by collecting almost 2,000 pounds of food and daily essentials for Eden Prairie’s PROP Food Shelf.
“ISM Against Hunger,” an annual food and supplies drive, ran from Oct. 24 until Nov. 14 and was supported by the entire school.
The donated items were delivered to PROP on the very snowy morning of Nov. 14 by ISM junior Andrew Cheng, who organized the event, and Sarah Bianucci, ISM’s student life coordinator.
Cheng said PROP was chosen because “our priority was to support a local organization that does food/daily necessities distribution to the people who are in need, and PROP is one that’s located in our neighborhood, Eden Prairie.”
Cheng said that effective positioning and communication were key to the success of the project. “The biggest challenge with this project was getting people involved at the beginning,” he said. “We figured out a better way to advertise our project, which was sending out a ‘very simple’ letter to the staff and students.”
He said, “Instead of just sending out nice posters to inform everyone that our goal is to raise 1,700 pounds of goods, we should add that our target is accomplishable if each of us can bring in seven pounds of goods. Being specific in communication is my biggest reward in this project.”
Cheng said the project was truly a team effort. “I want to do a big shout-out to the supportive ISM community,” he said. “We wouldn’t have had such a big success in this project without their kind support, as our original target was to collect 1,700 pounds, but we ended up receiving 1,938 pounds.
“Lastly, I want to thank my prefects and Mrs. Bianucci, for being with me throughout this project.”
Pre-K student collected over 430 pounds of food and essentials
Ayan Jassim, age 4 1/2, is a pre-K student at ISM who decided he wanted to help with the food drive. His parents say Ayan took an ambitious and enthusiastic approach to collecting donations.
“He’s very competitive and he likes to help,” said his father, Falah Jassim. “Ayan mentioned he wanted to go to a neighbor and ask her for donations. He said, ‘I want to take my tractor. What if she gives me a lot of food?’ So we took his tractor.”
As it turns out, the tractor was needed — in total, Ayan helped collect a whopping 430 pounds of food for the drive, from multiple people and places.
His father said Ayan was creative in thinking of places to ask for food: “He likes to get doughnuts at Byerly’s, so he said, ‘Let’s go to Byerly’s.’ They were very helpful,” he said. The store donated a $50 gift card, which the Jassims used to buy about 25 pounds of items from PROP’s list.
His mom, Rima, said her son is encouraging and kind: “Ayan is always geared to helping others and making other people happy.” She said her son hopes to collect even more next year.
Ayan said that collecting so much food made him feel “good, because it helped people.” He said he collected a lot of “paper towels and a lot of cans, cake mixes, and pasta. Lots of healthy food too. It was so cool and helped a lot of people.”
How to get involved
If you or someone you know in Eden Prairie or Chanhassen might be in need of help from PROP Food Shelf, including for short-term emergency food supplies, you can call 952-937-9120 or visit their website.
PROP is always in need of donations, financial support, and volunteers. These are currently their most-needed items.
Food donations can be dropped off from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, as well as 3-6:30 p.m. Wednesday evenings.
If you’re interested in setting up a food drive for PROP, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Here is their list of food drive items.
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