Giving This Season

native-sun-and-schools-1Native Sun Natural Foods Market hosted Montessori Tides School’s elementary students on December 13 for their 15th annual shopping event benefiting the USO. Twenty students in third through sixth grades planned and shopped the aisles for meals to feed more than 140 families at the local USO Mayport Center.

The annual event began in 2001 when eight-year-old Dawson Pickett, a Montessori Tides School student, saw a sign for a food drive at the USO Mayport Center. Now 15 years later, the event has grown and evolved into a partnership with Native Sun.

Students arrived at the Native Sun Baymeadows Road location with shopping lists in hand. Having raised a sum of almost $1,300 through donations from Montessori Tides families and Native Sun, the students and their teacher, Miss Jess, planned and purchased balanced meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“The children enjoyed using our gifts of time and love, in conjunction with Native Sun Natural Foods Market, to help the USO provide for our service members and their families,” said Jess Spurlock, who leads the Upper Elementary class at Montessori Tides School. “Community service is one of our most enjoyable activities, and we were able to give back to our community because of support from our Montessori Tides School families and Native Sun.”

As the final items went through the register, Upper Elementary student Riyln Taylor pulled a $5 bill out of her own pocket to purchase a box of soup, making the last meal complete.