Nearly 200 students at Randall Middle School’s Seeds of Hope Club work to pack bags every month for the weekly delivery of food to nearby schools.

Randall Middle School’s Seeds of Hope Club (SOH) is a student-led and run organization whose mission is fighting hunger in our local area. The club is assisted with a handful of teachers and parent volunteers. Soup for the Soul, which will take place on Wednesday, February 19 from 6-8 p.m. at Randall Middle School, is the club’s only fundraiser and all funds go directly to the club to continue purchasing food every week.

Tickets are $15 per person. Every ticket purchased includes a chef-prepared dinner of soup, bread and salad. The ticket prices also include sponsoring a backpack filled with food for a family of four packed and delivered by SOH Club members.

With each bowl of soup, attendees will be gifted an artisan wooden spoon commissioned for this event by Randall’s art teacher, Mrs. Carpenter. Entertainment for the evening will be provided by Randall’s Got Talent and there will be additional opportunities to sponsor backpacks and schools with food. It is also offering Soup-to-Go if someone is unable to make the event but would still like to help.

Every week since September, Randall’s SOH Club students pack more than 215 backpacks and bags full of food—enough to feed a family of four two nutritious meals. There are more than 200 SOH Club members who work hard every Wednesday morning before school starts to pack food purchased earlier that week.

The food is not donated, and every backpack packed has a price of $10 to fill. Each week, SOH covers the $2,000 grocery bill to feed more than 215 students and their families in our community.

Since the beginning of school, members have packed more than 2,600 backpacks full of food, providing 10,400 meals for local families. Volunteer parents spend hours organizing, ordering and delivering meals to 12 different elementary and middle schools in our local area that have students struggling with food insecurity.

With the help of school counselors, students are identified, and backpacks are delivered every week prior to the start of the weekend. From peanut butter to canned meat, vegetables to soup mixes, SOH buys thousands of dollars worth of food every week to feed local kids.

Eighth grader Erik Huisman and his sixth grade sister, Abby, are both SOH Club members at Randall. They take pride in giving back to their community each week.

“This is my third year with the club. I get to work with like-minded kids who want to give back to our community. It gives me a sense of accomplishment each week,” said Erik.

For Abby, it’s not only social, it means something.

“I like the teamwork, it’s fun to work with my friends. I also like filling the bags with food, because I know it will feed another kid,” she said.

The club is run by SOH volunteer leader Liz Higgins with help from parent volunteer Stacy Huisman, Lori Sanders and Leslie Kaloostian. Randall teachers Ms. Tucy, Ms. Deschnow, Mrs. Carpenter and Dr. Bradner help weekly with organizing and unloading food from a truck donated by George Shea. It’s a well-run machine that gets better each week thanks to middle schoolers with a drive to serve.

Randall Middle School is located at 16510 Fishhawk Blvd. in Lithia. For more information, email Liz Higgins at caseyjimmy@yahoo.com.