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AISB Stuffs the Bus for Berceni

By Janice Myles
AISB Stuffs the Bus for Berceni

Students at the American International School of Bucharest collected food donations to benefit their peers of Bercini district (photo: AISB).
A tradition continues at the American International School of Bucharest
“Stuff the Bus” is an annual event at the American International School of Bucharest (AISB) that has taken place for the past seven years. This project was initially conceived and initiated to support the less fortunate and needy in some villages of Berceni, a district of southern Bucharest.
This wonderful event brings together the whole school through a spirit of hope and giving, linking it closely to the reason for celebrating the Harvest Festival.
As part of this event, every elementary class carefully tracked the number of food items it collected, recording this information on a class thermometer. The collections were then combined and added to the Middle and High school contributions. This year 450 food bags were collected with over 6,000 food items in total.
Many teachers worked hard to support this initiative and encouraged the students to personally raise money and buy food themselves. Some teachers took this opportunity to study the math behind the numbers. For example, students created a graph to track the food they collected.
Ms. Moon’s class studied purchase receipts and analyzed whether or not they had made good selections for the value of their purchases. Students asked questions such as, “How many people can you feed with this pasta?” and “Is it better to buy peanut butter or a can of kidney beans?”
It was heart-warming to see hundreds of bags placed on the bus by happy and excited students. However, for the people of Berceni, these bags represent much more than just food: they send a clear message to the people of Berceni that our students, faculty, staff, and parents care about their welfare and well-being. In Mother Teresa’s words, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” There sure was plenty of love involved in filling the bags and stuffing the bus! Even the rain couldn’t dampen everyone’s spirit this day!
I am often asked, “Why are we helping Berceni again? Can’t we help some other people instead?” There are several reasons why we continue to help the villages of Berceni. For one, we committed to helping the NGO Second Chance many years ago and we also promised to ensure continued support for sustainability.
Over the years, Second Chance has proven a reliable community partner by ensuring that all donations reach those intended. The leadership of Second Chance and its commitment testify to its staff’s dedication to working tirelessly to improve the lives of the less fortunate.
Second Chance founder, Cosmina, was present at the assembly along with a representative from the Berceni mayor’s office to personally receive AISB’s contribution and thank the community for its donations and generosity. It was a rewarding experience for all present to see the students follow the representatives out, cheering and waving the “stuffed” bus off as it headed to Berceni.
We can all too often get caught up in our own little bubble, unaware of the world around us. Having an experience like this not only raises our social awareness and sense of civic responsibility towards a community in need, but it also helps our students gain a sense of what it means to be a caring and contributing global citizen through action.
Janice Myles is Elementary Service Learning Coordinator at AISB.

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