After learning about the prevalence of hunger and poverty in the world, several grades at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick cracked open books in hopes of helping families in need bridge the gap to a better life.

Students at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick pose for a photo. Courtesy of St. John’s School

“Read to Feed,” a read-a-thon event held at the school, resulted in over 500 hours of reading by students and pledges from family members, friends and parishioners. Second, third, and fifth graders all participated in the initiative.

“Together, the classrooms raised $3,870.86 for Heifer International,” said Shelly Wheeler, principal at St. John’s. “The fifth graders raised over $3,200 themselves! Their goal was $540.”

Since 1944, Heifer International has helped more than 36 million families lift themselves out of hunger and poverty by providing livestock, agricultural training, tools and education. The nonprofit organization works to eradicate hunger and poverty through sustainable, values-based, holistic community development, helping families and individuals achieve better lives.

“One of the neat aspects of the program is that Heifer lets the students choose which items to purchase with their donation,” said Wheeler.

The students chose to use their donations to support three goats, three water buffalo, three flocks of chickens, three ducks/geese, three honeybee hives, two heifers, two llamas, two tree seedlings, two trios of rabbits, two sheep, a pig, a hope basket and a knitting basket.

“Their donation will help provide these things to families in high-need areas around the world and continued to cultivate a love of reading at the same time,” said Wheeler. “We are very proud.”

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