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River City Scholars Special Ed Students Learn, Give Back at Kids’ Food Basket

One group of special education students from River City Scholars got to lend a helping hand on a recent field trip, learning and volunteering at Kids’ Food Basket.

Kat Lietzau, River City’s social worker, collaborated with the Grand Rapids-based nonprofit to bring students to the Kid’ Food Basket headquarters. The field trip included a tour of the facility and information about the process of getting food, packaging it, and distributing it to the community.
River City students pose outside of Kids Food Basket for photo
Special education scholars went on a recent field trip to Kids’ Food Basket where they learned about the organization’s processes.

Scholars got to be a part of the process, planting vegetable seeds and then discussing the life cycles of different vegetable plants. Then the group got to tour a greenhouse and even try fresh green beans and tomatoes right off the vine.

The trip ended with a ride on the Kids’ Food Basket tractor and an explanation about composting. River City students helped pick up composting materials while soaking in loads of information.

River City student planting food.
Scholars planted new vegetables during their trip after learning about the life cycle of food plants.

“They packed a lot in to the day,” Lietzau said. “We could have stayed there all day and that would have been great.”

Students directly helped their community through their efforts, and Lietzau said getting into a different environment and giving back made them feel very excited.

River City students planting food
Scholars were excited for the field trip, which came at no cost to families.
“They were excited to just do all the hands-on stuff and get outside and explore a new place,” Lietzau said. “I think it was really cool to see them participate in giving back or seeing the whole community that goes into feeding our school through this sack supper program.”

The trip came at no cost to students, and the first-hand look provided a unique experience. Lietzau said she thinks it was the first time these scholars had ever been in a greenhouse.
River City students touring Kids Food Basket
The field trip included a tour of the Kids’ Food Basket greenhouse, which was a first for students.

“I am so thankful for the support from my teammates Hannah Mayberry and Ashley Cline,” Lietzau said. “Everyone was so supportive including Principal Brooke Haslacker, who helped coordinate transportation. It was great that my team could kind of come together and make this trip and experience happen for our students.”
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About River City Scholars
River City Scholars is a tuition-free, public charter school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit

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