by Anne Roberts

A recent project at a Tokyo area international school proves that sometimes the best of ideas can come from children.

Thirteen third grade students came up with the idea to start a program that donates food to people in need. What started as the simple idea of “just giving food to poor people,” ended up becoming a school-wide endeavor that produced more than 2,200 food items in just four weeks.

Students, teachers, and staff at Columbia International School all got behind the food drive in an effort not only to feed the hungry, but also to bring together the individual classes of the school. Everybody strove to bring in as many items as possible, while unifying the school behind a common cause. This project presented an opportunity to teach students aged 6 to 18 about compassion, generosity, and kindness—values that will hopefully continue to be developed for the rest of their lives.

The junior and senior high section of the school brought in 787 items, while the elementary section brought in a whopping 1456 items. Food items ranged from bags of rice to seaweed, canned goods, and pasta. A couple of generous teachers graciously volunteered their time to organize, collect, and count the edibles before they were donated to charitable causes.

The food was picked up by Second Harvest Japan, an organization that distributed it to the elderly, single parent families, orphanages, the homeless, and many others in need. A big thank you to Second Harvest Japan for picking up the food and finishing the journey that was started by a group of 8 year olds. Columbia International School’s food drive shows that great things can happen from small ideas. Hopefully youngsters and adults around the country will follow suit, and future efforts will be just as successful.

For more information on Second Harvest Japan please visit

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Columbia International School