Sag Harbor Elementary students donate ‘Cake in a Pan’ kits

Sag Harbor Elementary School has chosen its theme for the 2023-2024 school year – “Reach for the Stars!” As with previous themes, “Reach for the Stars” encourages projects, challenges, and educational lessons for the students to discover. Based on this theme, Principal Malone also encourages the elementary students, faculty, and staff to set a personal goal for the year which could involve teamwork or personal development to achieve. 

“For me, my goal is to increase the opportunities at school for students to demonstrate altruism and to provide those opportunities for students to perform an act of service to benefit others,” said school counselor, Michelle Grant. “I’ve started by introducing the word ‘altruism’ to [the students] and the positive outcomes altruism can have on both the giver and receiver.”

With the word “altruism” in mind, Grant announced a project all students could contribute to for the month of October. “At Morning Program, we discussed the excitement having cake at celebrations brings but how not everyone can afford the cost of ingredients needed - such as a disposable cake pan, cake mix, oil, frosting, sprinkles, and candles - at a local market,” said Grant. In response to this need, students were introduced to the “Cake in a Pan” project.  

To raise money for the ingredients, students were asked to perform helpful chores at home or redeem bottles and cans for coins. Once the coins were collected, the items were purchased and placed in the pan to be wrapped up as a donation to the food pantry – essentially a “cake in a pan.” “The food pantry is often able to provide eggs so families would indeed have what they needed for a celebratory cake,” explained Grant.

Coin donations were gathered in each classroom with the goal of collecting $22 per class, which was the estimated cost of purchasing the items needed. However, Grant made a point to say: “It was essential the students were not given money by parents and did not use money they already had but, rather, to perform a specific task to earn the coins for this project.” By following these rules together, the students learned the value of working toward their goals and how to save as a class. 

Sag Harbor Elementary’s students successfully created 34 “Cake in a Pan” kits for the food pantry and loaded them up in their minibus with help from teachers and staff. As a project with many layers, the students practiced giving back and saw how their own honest work could bring joy to themselves and others.