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An Opportunity to Share

December 1, 2021 | Cindy Kuperus

This poster says it all.

Second and third graders studied Hoboken in the fall term. A part of their studies was answering the question, “What do the houses look like?” That prompted a study of row houses, brownstones, and apartment buildings found in Hoboken.

But not all people have homes in Hoboken. Some sleep on cold sidewalks, on hard benches, and over grates that at times might send warm gusts of air through.

The Hoboken Shelter is a place for many people to have a warm meal every day, to learn skills to get a steady job, and to receive hot showers and even a place to sleep on the coldest nights.

Students wanted to help folks who go to the shelter for these basic needs. The website listed many items and students voted to collect five, as listed on the poster above.

Each day, we would count, multiply, and add. Mr. Martino put our items on a google sheet and showed us how they looked in a bar graph. it was perfect, as these were the math skills we’ve learned so far this school year.

After two weeks of collecting in grades K-8, there were

  • 3171 (!!!) plates
  • 191 bars of soap
  • 46 bottles of hand sanitizer
  • 110 pairs of socks
  • 446 trash bags

All of the items were stored in our loft, which was so full! Children carefully helped bring items down, one at a time,

Then the items were brought to the front of the room to organize and put into bags.

Next, we each took two bags, and headed out. Just outside our school door, we stopped to adjust our loads – they were so heavy! We noticed Evie’s grandmother, and she asked if she could help.

Evie spoke in Greek to her grandmother and she offered to drive about 8-10 bags to the shelter. What an unexpected gift!

Finally, we walked the 5 blocks.

Once we were there, we loaded a large table with all the many supplies, and even needed to use the floor for some. The person receiving the supplies was overwhelmed by gratitude.

O give thanks to the Lord!

Cindy Kuperus

Teacher, Grades 3&4

Ms. Kuperus attended a small Lutheran grade school and has always been a student in multi-grade classrooms. She became interested in teaching, in fact, when she would assist classmates when the teacher was busy helping others. Her 5th/6th grade teacher, Mrs. Roman, encouraged her to think broadly about the world beyond their small town (population: 500), giving stickers to those who could answer a question from the World News segment from television the night before. She would be thrilled to learn that Ms. Kuperus has taught internationally in Masaya, Nicaragua, and Chengdu,China.

After graduating from Calvin College, Ms. Kuperus taught students in grades two-six for almost 10 years in Kentwood, Michigan. In 1994, Ms. Kuperus sought a teaching position in a school in the Northeast, anywhere but New Jersey. She’s now taught for over 23 years in NEW JERSEY! Two of her former students, Becca Brasser and Sam Martino, are now on staff at MSS.

Ms. Kuperus loves opportunities to travel, interact with the people, and taste the foods of the world. She’s also a person who ‘travels” with the characters in the books she reads!

It’s important to Ms. Kuperus that people’s voices are heard and that their needs for shelter and food are met. To that end, she volunteers for organizations like First Friends and the Sharing Place.

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