Chain of Assumption students delivers food donations for the holidays

  • Written by Mary Louise Van Dyke
  • Published in Local
Students from Assumption School in Bellingham pass along food they collected for the Hope House multiservice center. The “human food chain” is an annual Thanksgiving tradition at the school. Photo: Angie King Students from Assumption School in Bellingham pass along food they collected for the Hope House multiservice center. The “human food chain” is an annual Thanksgiving tradition at the school. Photo: Angie King

BELLINGHAM - Trisha Claret thinks her school’s Thanksgiving food drive is right up the pope’s alley.

“I do believe that Pope Francis would appreciate this,” said Trisha, an eighth-grader at Assumption School in Bellingham, where the Human Food Chain has been a tradition for more than 20 years. “We are able to give for the sake of giving and not to expect anything in return,” she said. “And it’s fun.”

The Monday before Thanksgiving, a chain of Assumption students stretched 300 yards from the Church of the Assumption to Hope House, a multiservice outreach center located on Assumption’s campus. After attending a prayer service, the school’s 206 students in grades K-8 formed a sort of bucket brigade, passing 3,000 cans and boxes of donated food from one student to the next, until the donations reached the Hope House storage shed. 

students pass canned goods
A line of students from Bellingham’s Assumption School stretched 300 yards from the Church of the Assumption to the Hope House multiservice center on the parish campus. Photo: Angie King

The donations, which students began collecting Nov. 1, will be distributed by Hope House to Whatcom County residents in need during the holiday season. The center is a collaboration of Catholic Community Services of Western Washington and Bellingham parishes.

Eighth-grader Monserrat Hernandez, a member of the Assumption student council, said the human food chain ties in with feeding the hungry, one of the corporal works of mercy. During the holidays, some people can’t count on having a plate of food to eat, she said. 

Besides helping hungry neighbors, the food chain is intended to encourage students to be thankful for having food and shelter, said Regina Campbell, who teaches religion, physical education and health at Assumption.

But members of the student council, who helped organize the event, also had a less serious goal: To fill Principal Bill Attebery’s office with so much food that work space would be hard to find, Campbell said.

“Our motivation was to squish him out,” Campbell said, and the students succeeded.