Students use greenhouse to feed community amid COVID-19 crisis

Coronavirus

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — As many different groups step up and join the fight against COVID-19, a few young students at a West Michigan middle school are playing their part.

When the students at Holland Middle School first built their greenhouse last April, they had no idea it would be used to help feed the community during a pandemic just a year later.

Regardless, they’re motivated to make a difference. 

“I just think it’s amazing that we have the opportunity to give back to our community and help those in need,” said Yanyssa Ochoa, an 8th grader at Holland Middle School.

Before the schools in Michigan were shut down due to the pandemic, Ochoa and her classmates, Austin and Blake House, all worked together in their school greenhouse and planted foods such as cucumbers, beans, and lettuce.

Bill Boerman is their STEM teacher.

“When everything hit, we kind of transitioned from an educational opportunity from a school standpoint, to a community service type of situation,” Boerman said.

Boerman says now they’re looking for ways to distribute the food, once it’s done growing, to those who really need it.

“It’s those small things that we do for each other that really help in different ways,” Boerman said.

Boerman says they have two options where they can donate food: the school district’s current pick-up centers or to the Community Action House, a local food pantry.

“I think cooking, making vegetables and fruits is cool because most people don’t get that apple a day brings the doctor away,” said Austin House.

“Providing fruits and vegetables that people can take for free is really great,” Blake House said.

Boerman said it’s times like this when the community must come together to get through challenging times.

“There are challenges, but the best way to be successful is to help each other,” he said.

The goal is to start sending out the food in early May.


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