Hewitt News

Hewitt’s Day of Service
Robert Battistini, Middle School Parent

One person can certainly make a difference. But what if over 250 members of the Hewitt community came together and cooperated with intensity, purpose, and love? 

At 3:30 pm on Friday, April 28, large bags of grain were stacked in the Hewitt gym. By 6:00 pm, more than 100 community members had assembled rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, and micronutrient packs into over 20,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger, an organization that empowers communities to end world hunger. Hewitt families, faculty, staff, and alumnae carefully measured, added, and blended these meal components into packets that will go on to feed thousands of people in places like Ghana, Haiti, India, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. The meal-packing process was intricate and demanding — each packet of food involved over a dozen steps — but 200 Hewitt hands working as one body both demonstrated and developed the power of our school community.
As volunteers blended rice and soy in the gym, other community members participated in several additional Service Day activities. One group went plogging (picking up litter while jogging) through Central Park, removing two industrial-sized bags of trash and recycling from the paths and playgrounds. Another gathered in Hewitt’s rooftop garden — which was designed and built by two members of the Class of 2022 — to spread 75 pounds of compost and mulch and plant 50 flowers and herbs, some of which will eventually make their way into Hewitt’s kitchen and onto plates at lunchtime.  

In the library, over 50 people learned how to repurpose textiles in an upcycle workshop led by Hewitt’s Sustainability Council and made cards for asylum seekers living in New York City. Across the hall, members of our upper school Earth Committee and middle school Sustainability Team hosted a thrift sale to bring awareness to the environmental damage caused by fast fashion. After collecting donations of gently used clothing from the community, these student leaders sold 150 pieces of ‘pre-loved’ clothing, with all proceeds supporting sustainability education and initiatives at Hewitt. 

What was our community’s impact over the course of a single afternoon in April? Less litter in our neighborhood; beauty, flavor, and oxygen-production on the Hewitt roof; reduction of need for new clothes; and messages of hope to those eager to become Americans. But Hewitt’s Day of Service did not only impact our local and global community. By the end of the day, our community’s bonds of cooperation and trust had been affirmed, and the future had become a little more equitable, sustainable, and joyous.  

Special thanks to The PHFFoundation, Hewitt’s Sustainability Council, and the 2023 Hewitt’s Day of Service planning committee: Maureen P’23, Dolly P’27, Jake P’28, Marissa P’23, Jennifer P’27 P’29, Amy P’25, Hanan P’32, Jo-Anne P’23, and K-12 Sustainability Coordinator Tim Clare.

four students wearing blue gloves, standing outside in Central Park

Lower school students help collect trash in Central Park

one female student and her mom planting in a garden bed

Planting on the rooftop garden

four students wearing hairnets and plastic gloves, standing by a bin of grains

Assembling food packages for Rise Against Hunger

gymnasium filled with people and a stack of cardboard boxes

Assembling food for Rise Against Hunger

two students looking at a sewing machine, one woman holding the fabric for the machine

Learning to repurpose textiles in an upcycle workshop

one student wearing a hairnet and plastic gloves, holding an orange mug of grains

Assembling food packages for Rise Against Hunger

three students standing near a stack of jeans folded on a table

'Pre-loved' clothing thrift sale