Middle School Students Lend a Helping Hand with Second Harvest Japan

Three seventh-grade students share their recent trip, organized by middle school teacher Ben Lewis, to the Second Harvest Japan offices, what they did, what they learned and why they want to help.


My First Second Harvest, Joanne Sherluck (grade 7)
Second Harvest is the only nation wide food bank in Japan, with the aim of creating an effective food safety net. In order to do so, they deliver food to children’s homes, single-mother shelters, centers for the disabled as well as many other welfare organizations and individuals in need. There are three sessions in which ASIJ students can participate on Saturdays. Preparing, distribution and cleaning. I participated in the preparing session.

Mr Lewis, Shiori (grade 8), Sarah (grade 7) and I met at Akihabara station, from where we walked to the Second Harvest Japan office. When we arrived, the helpers there led us to an introductory session that they held in the Second Harvest Kid’s Cafe. We got to learn a lot about Second Harvest and how it spread through Japan and their activities. We then returned to the Second Harvest office where Shiori, Sarah and I started grouping oranges into packets of three. We finished that job pretty quickly as we had help from another student who represented another school.

After that, we started packing rice bags for different families. It was fun because the bags rice kept falling. They were too heavy for us to hold while we were laughing! We finished that task successfully with some help from Mr Lewis. With that task completed, we moved on to the next one, for which we placed food into baskets according to color for small and large families as well as vegetarian and nonvegetarian families. This task went by quickly but helped develop our communication and sociability levels with other helpers and the Second Harvest staff. Soon after this was done, the helpers started bringing in mats and cartons in which the food was kept.

Second Harvest also receives different kinds of bread, from muffins to croissants, and cinnamon rolls to baguettes as excess food from the factories that made them. Our last task was to arrange these confectionaries in a way that everyone was able to see and take. Shiori, Sarah and I failed almost three times because new kinds of breads kept coming and we did not have much space to arrange them, but we finally managed to separate the breads and keep them from falling over with some help from Mr Lewis. Sadly this was the last part of our session for the day but we left our signatures on the walls as a mark of a day well spent. Thank you Second Harvest for helping all the poor, sick and hungry people around Japan and thank you Mr Lewis for giving me this opportunity to help others in the society.



Sarah Kohata (grade 7)
The reason I chose to help Second Harvest is to serve less fortunate people. I think that Second Harvest is a great way to help out the world in a fun and an exciting way. During my experience there, I learned more about those who are less fortunate and do not have much of an opportunity to get quality food. I wanted to help, so I joined the effort through Second Harvest. I look forward to helping more in the future.


Hana Freeman (grade 7)
Second Harvest is an amazing chance to help the less fortunate. I did the first session where we made the food and it was extremely exciting. The other volunteers were also helpful and hard workers. I learned a lot from this trip. For example, I had the opportunity to better understand how to help those facing a life crisis get proper care and food. All in all, I would love to go on this trip again, and I recommend this experience for people who want to make a difference in this world, and spread the happiness and love to everyone.