Charlotte kids getting involved raising money for charity
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Saturday, Jul. 19, 2014

Charlotte kids getting involved raising money for charity

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/16/10/31/gVU81.Em.138.jpeg|282
    - COURTESY OF KELSEY DORSET
    Sarah Morgan, education director of The Lunch Project, and students at Lemanyata School in Tanzania. “When a family raises $85 for TLP, the kids in Tanzania make a sign to say thank you,” said Morgan. “A picture is emailed to the family on the day their lunch is served. This day was sponsored by my family.”
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/16/10/31/1uRUyx.Em.138.jpeg|421
    - COURTESY OF JON MICHAEL MORGAN
    Marlo Morgan, from left, Silas Morgan, Sarah Morgan and Jillian Morgan, and the rest of the Morgan family, participate in The Lunch Project’s Summer of Service program to raise money for school lunches for Tanzanian students. Sarah Morgan is the education director for The Lunch Project. For information, visit www.thelunchproject.org

Two summers ago, Mountainbrook residents Sarah and Jon Michael Morgan gave their young children – Jillian, Marlo and Silas – the goal of raising money for charity.

The children picked The Lunch Project as their beneficiary, with the goal of raising $85 to sponsor a school lunch in Tanzania for more than 900 children.

“It’s really cool to help kids like me in another place,” said Jillian, 11.

Jillian, Marlo, 8, and Silas, 6, decided to hold a Kid Olympics to raise money. “It was truly a kid-led event,” said Sarah Morgan. “They came up with the ideas and made it happen themselves, from the budget to the decorations and activities.”

The Morgan children raised $700 for The Lunch Project, a Charlotte-based nonprofit organization that provides lunches for Tanzanian children at school.

As Sarah Morgan learned more about The Lunch Project, she realized the organization could benefit from her experience with nonprofits. In October 2012, she started volunteering as the education director.

In that position, Morgan teaches elementary schoolchildren about global problem-solving. She also teaches how to respect other peoples and the similarities and differences between cultures.

“I’d like to see the next generation of American philanthropists understand that we can help while being respectful of other traditions and cultures,” said Morgan.

In June 2013, Morgan visited the Lemanyata Primary School, one of the schools in Tanzania that benefits from The Lunch Project. Lemanyata is about the same size as Sharon Elementary, which the Morgan children attend.

“I was most moved by how kids who have so little are just like our American schoolchildren, who have so much,” said Morgan. “I had the privilege of serving lunch to children who might not otherwise eat that day.”

Morgan saw firsthand how the program works and how the Tanzanian people live. She also met teachers and parents, fell in love with the kids and taught a lesson on American schools and families.

“When I showed them pictures of my kids’ classes, they were most amazed by how many books we have and how colorful our classrooms are,” said Morgan.

In 2013, The Lunch Project launched the Summer of Service program. Participating families with elementary-school-age children and older committed to raising a minimum of $85 for The Lunch Project to sponsor lunch for more than 900 students.

“Last year, Charlotte kids raised money for over 27,000 lunches with kid-led creative summer fundraisers like lemonade stands, a tea party, hoop-a-thon, a water-slide party, movie nights, baby-sitting, yard sales, bake sales,” said Morgan.

The Pruitt family of Beverly Woods East heard about the nonprofit and the Summer of Service from the Morgans and The Lunch Project founder Rebecca Wofford and decided to get involved. Laura and Jeff Pruitt’s daughters – Sallie Reid, 13, and Meredith, 10 – raised enough money to sponsor a Christmas dinner and several school lunches.

“We just want (our girls) to learn to do for others and to realize that there are people that don’t have all the opportunities that we have,” said Laura Pruitt.

Meredith plans to participate again this summer because, she said, she knows she is “doing good for other people.” Through her Hoops for Hunger fundraiser, Meredith will shoot baskets. Donations can be per basket or a flat amount.

“When (the students) are not hungry, they will do better in school,” said Meredith. “Better in school, then they’ll do better in life.”

Ernest Mmbaga, the Tanzanian in-country coordinator for The Lunch Project, agrees. Via e-mail, Mmbaga recalled a conversation with a secondary student who used to get lunches as a Lemanyata Primary School student.

“Brother this lunch was really really help us on our subjects during that tim (sic),” he wrote, quoting the student. “We will never forget Lunch project on our life.”

“To have something in our stomach at school and continue with our study with power,” said another boy via Mmbaga.

Helping these children through the Summer of Service is a priority to Morgan.

“Summer of Service is about families communicating their values of service and philanthropy to their kids: learning by doing,” said Morgan. “I believe so deeply that kids don’t have to wait until they are grownups to make a positive impact on the world.

“I’m so excited to see how Summer of Service inspires kids this year.”

Marissa Brooks is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marissa? Email her at mbrookspt@earthlink.net.

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