Making A Difference: The Rachel Way Foundation and CES Cares

seven kids holding food itemsAt Colonial Elementary School (CES), the community service club CES Cares recently held a food drive that wasn't like any they had before. All of the donations needed to be gluten-, nut- or dairy-free for people in need who also have food allergies.

"I'm dairy-free, but we can actually go to the store and buy dairy-free products. Some other people can't," said fifth grader Rayannah Abdulla. "I brought in gluten-free pasta and crackers to help people who can't go to the store and buy it themselves."

The donations are going to The Rachel Way Foundation, a local nonprofit organization started by parents in the Colonial School District whose daughter was diagnosed with a gluten and dairy intolerance. The family began the foundation after realizing how difficult and expensive it was to shop for someone with a food allergy.

"It's right in the community.," said teacher Ken Grimes. "Their food pantry is in the Plymouth Meeting Mall, so it's all within the Colonial School District. It's a wonderful thing."

To encourage their friends to bring in donations for the cause, the CES students created posters, wrote speeches and decorated collection bins.

"We got more donations than I thought we would, because gluten-free and nut-free products are hard to find," explained Lindy Arnold, also a fifth grade student at CES. "I'm proud that we're helping people."

Once each month, CES Cares meets in the morning before school to kick-off a new campaign. The club will be collecting new stuffed animals (must still have tags attached) through November 16. More than 150 students volunteered with CES Cares over the past year.

Making A Difference: The Rachel Way Foundation and CES Cares