Appreciating Teachers

By Laura Sodano Beausoleil

May 3 is National Teacher Appreciation Day.

As Hunger Action Coordinator at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, I have the privilege of visiting schools and community groups, talking to people about hunger in the state, the impact of hunger in their local communities and how they can help.

I am sure we all have friends and family who are teachers or are in the education field.

I have heard people say, “Oh, teachers have it so easy. They work from 9 to 3 and have summers off.”

Well, I see a different side. I am in a lot of schools, and am amazed how far and above teachers go! Coming in early, staying late, coaching teams, running clubs, tutoring and mentoring…all because they love children and want them to learn.

I appreciate the many teachers, community club advisors, principals and campus ministers who set aside time in the school day, and graciously invite me to talk about hunger and CFBNJ to their students…then follow up with food drives, tag days, fundraisers and events for us. These events often occur at night and on weekends…on their own time. They guide and inspire their classes to help their less-fortunate neighbors with innovative projects and lessons.

These schools coordinatehundreds of volunteers annually, who help us sort and pack food donations in our Hillside and Egg Harbor Township, and help collect food at concerts, sporting events, and food shows. They collect clothes and school supplies and “Pennies for Pencils” for our Kids Division.

The NJ Key Clubs chose the NJ Federation of Food Banks as their charity of choice this past school year. They have been busy with many events such as “Spike out Hunger” volleyball tournaments, an indoor carnival, a hunger walk and bake sales.

Our Annual Students Change Hunger food drive was terrific this year! Students from 65 schools collected 49,808 lbs. of food and raised $7,560 for CFBNJ.

I witnessed great dedication and partnership among teachers, their students, PTO’s and CFB to make this happen! Teachers, you can register your school for the coming year at to be a part of this important initiative with us.

These are just a few ways of how I see teachers not only teach from textbooks…but also give their students responsibility, life lessons, and pride in their school and community.

To borrow an old phrase… “If you can read this, thank a Teacher!”

If you would like a hunger education session in your school or organization, please contact me at

Laura Sodano Beausoleil is CFBNJ’s Hunger Action Coordinator.