After months of researching, planning and preparing his Power of One project, seventh grader Patrick Cummins will lead a meal-packaging effort at Middlebrook School on May 14.
Each year, students on the Seven Green Team at Middlebrook look for ways in which they can make a positive impact on their community and the world at large through the Power of One project.
Social studies teacher Cindy Beck-Moore started the Power of One unit several years ago “as a way to encourage students to see the world around them as a place [where] they can actively make a difference.”
The yearlong unit is designed to empower change and bring about positive outcomes by having students find issues that they are passionate about and come up with solutions.
“We don’t want them to feel the world is full of doom and gloom,” said Beck-Moore, “but we want them to see that they can make changes if they feel moved to do so.”
For his project, Patrick decided to work with Stop Hunger Now, an international hunger relief agency that has coordinated the distribution of more than 180 million packaged meals to children and families in 65 countries since 1998.
According to Wilton Interfaith Action Committee (Wi-ACT) Chairman Stephen Hudspeth, Stop Hunger Now typically works with “colleges and universities, faith institutions and some businesses.”
“What Patrick is doing is both ground-breaking and highly important. Middlebrook’s event will be the first event Stop Hunger Now has done with a middle school,” said Hudspeth.
“Patrick’s Power of One project will demonstrate that high schools and even middle schools can do this work, which will open up the potential for many more meal-packaging events.”

Hudspeth said not only is Patrick a “great leader,” but he has also been a volunteer at Wi-ACT’s October meal-packaging events for several years. According to Beck-Moore, Patrick’s experience in Wi-Act meal-packaging events is what inspired him to make hunger the focus of his Power of One.
Patrick has been planning the meal-packaging event since August, said Beck-Moore, and has had four student co-directors jump on board to help him.
Beck-Moore said approximately 75  students and 10 adults are expected to participate in Patrick’s meal-packaging.
Patrick’s goal is to package at least 20,088 meals. According to Stop Hunger Now, each packaged meal costs $0.29, which would require around $5,825.
“Patrick has started a website and has raised, as of last week, about $1,700,” said Beck-Moore. “He’s also done one bake sale and has a second one coming up on April 19 at the Village Market.”
In addition to working with Stop Hunger Now to arrange the meal-packaging event, Patrick has also been working with Wi-ACT and Middlebrook music teacher Janet Nobles to plan the Wi-ACT Stop Hunger Now Benefit Concert on Sunday, April 26.

Benefit concert


Students from Middlebrook and the high school have volunteered to be in and help with the concert, which will take place at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 36 New Canaan Road, at 4 p.m.
Ms. Noble said the hour-long concert will feature a “real range” of music and entertainment.
“We will have the Black Tie Affair jazz group playing, children singing motivational songs, ensemble performances, gymnastics and dancers — a little bit of everything,” she said. “Whatever the kids want to bring to the table.”
Wilton singers Anna Rita Tornello and Erica vanderLinde Feidner will also perform at the hour-long concert.
In past years, tickets for Wi-ACT’s benefit concert cost $10, but Patrick thought making it a free event — with “more students in the concert and food and beverages afterwards” — would be a good idea and help raise more money, said Beck-Moore.
Half the proceeds collected at the concert will be used to support Patrick’s meal-packaging effort. The other half will go to support Wi-ACT’s mission of raising $58,000 to package 200,000 meals on Saturday, Oct. 24.
For more information on Patrick’s project or to donate, visit: stophungernow7gmb.squarespace.com or bit.ly/1CdccNm.
For more information on Stop Hunger Now, visit: stophungernow.org.