Throughout October and November, Peacham Elementary School will be emphasizing and employing strategies to help raise awareness about and fight against hunger in Vermont.
Peacham is not alone, however. Schools across the state contributing to help in any way they can.
Two statewide hikes were organized as an official part of the Hunger Free Vermont campaign. The first took place on Sept. 22, and the second on Oct. 13. A great deal of information on the subject can be found at http://www.hungerfreevt.org/.
While they are not formally a part of the Hike for Hunger in Vermont, Peacham students and teachers alike are doing their part to help make this world a less hungry one.
Every fall Peacham has a food drive to help raise food awareness. "Peacham school is kind of a local food pantry," Peacham principal Hank Ruppertsberger said. For those who donate food, non-perishable goods are requested. The school will be holding a mock food shelf in a storage room they are developing in the cafeteria for the next two months. Grades K-6 went on a school field trip to Omri Parsons' Green Bay Farm on Sept. 24 as additional part of their efforts.
"We took a hike to get the children out to learn more about the natural environment and to put a fun twist on examining the local demands for food shelves and fighting against hunger," Ruppertsberger said.
"One of the things we're trying to do," Parsons said, "is Peacham school is going through a turmoil like most public schools and we want to help the kids."
The hike served as a dual effort to also promote the history of Vermont. After the hike, Dick Hovey educated the students about the snow rollers that used to be used instead of snowplows. The snow roller on Parsons' farm is over 100 years and one of a select few left in New England.
Snow rollers were prominent in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They do pretty much what you'd expect from the title. Before snow ploughs came about and arose as an effective way to get snow out of the way, farmers would typically hook up four horses to the snow roller and pack the snow down.
Snow rollers were used primarily in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and a little bit in up state New York, but today they are quite rare. "No one that we know of in Vermont has a collection of more than one," Dick Hovey, who uses Parsons' barn as a temporary garage for his snow roller, said.
"WWII took most of them because the army wanted the metal," Hovey said. Since they were becoming outdated by that point, they were considered no good and most of them were torn apart and only metal was salvaged. Hovey said he is "interested in hopefully having a museum of all the snow rollers we can gather." Hovey said he knows of at least 17 that are in existence in Vermont and hopes to eventually own all of them and have them in working condition.
For the Christmas holiday in 2014, Hovey and his wife Dotti mentioned that they hope to give a demonstration through Peacham of the snow rollers.
"It's something really special for Peacham that no one else has," Dotti Hovey said of the potential snow roller demonstration in the near future.
Ruppertsberger wants his students to understand their cultural history while simultaneously actively participating to help the people around them.