Class Act

Emily Harry, Grace Community Christian School fifth grader, helps a local community member, a client of Rio Vista Center, choose the right produce item for her needs.

Fifth-graders at Grace Community Christian School lent a helping hand to members of Phoenix-based Rio Vista Center, a non-profit Christian organization that provides resources for the Valley’s less fortunate families.

Fifth-grade teacher Pat Getz brought her entire class to the center, helping to unload trucks of food to be distributed to residents.

Jenna Huitink, community services coordinator with the school, set up the event for students.

“They (the fifth-graders) unloaded a food truck, sorted clothes for the center, set up for the farmers market and served clientele,” Getz said.

Students brought tables outside, where they unloaded a variety of food for needy families attending the farmers market.

One fifth-grader, Courtney, handed out packages of organic lettuce.

“We’re giving out different things that the people need,” Courtney said. “I just think it’s fun, and it’s good to know that you’re helping other people.”

Gail Kukla, a parent volunteer who also chaperoned the event, said each family was able to get one package of chicken, one loaf of bread, one dessert item and two packages of vegetables.

“Grace Community Christian School started it this year, and it’s called Grace Gives,” Kukla said.

Each class completes at least one service project each month under the new program, she said.

“I think it humbles them,” Kukla said. “It makes them realize how good they have it.”

Debbie Allen, who works at Rio Vista Center and part-time at Grace Community Christian School, said students from the school come out at least once a month to help serve the community.

“It’s an awesome opportunity for them,” Allen said. “The farmers market is twice a month – on the first and third Tuesday.”

Service projects include other fundraisers within the school to aid various homeless shelters throughout the Valley.

“We also help the city of Tempe,” Getz said. “The students pull weeds, and we’ve also gone to serve at care facilities like Westchester (Campus of Care). It’s so important for kids to serve others.”



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