Jefferson School kindergarteners roll their red wagons one block to the Berkeley food pantry. Photos: Masahisa Handa

Today at lunchtime kindergarteners at Jefferson Elementary School took part in a Berkeley Thanksgiving tradition that is believed to date back at least 25 years.

The children set out from their school and rolled ten little red wagons piled high with donations to the Berkeley Food Pantry one block away at the Berkeley Friends Church on Sacramento Street.

According to Masahisa Handa, who took the photos shown here, retired teacher Beverly Theile had the original idea of using red wagons so the kids could deliver the donated food to the pantry.

The red wagon Thanksgiving tradition is believed to date back at least 25 years

Several Jefferson teachers created lesson plans around the initiative this year, with the kids calculating how much and what type of food they were collecting. The children made charts showing the number of cans versus the number of  boxes, and weight charts in grams and ounces.

“But nothing beats the excitement of the big day when the children team up to pull and push the wagons down the block to the pantry where their donations are eagerly accepted,” said Handa.

[Hat-tip: Sarah Baughn]

Lesson plans are incorporated into the initiative, but the real pleasure for the kids is rolling the wagons to the pantry

Donations sought so no-one goes hungry on Thanksgiving [11.21.11]
Berkeley food programs short on funds as demand rises [10.04.11] 

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...