Teaming up with the Rise Against Hunger organization which globally ships food to people in need, the brigade was part of the first grade class’ campaign to fight world hunger.

To the tune of Taylor Swift and other singles, first graders at Dixon elementary loaded over 11,000 bags of dry food Friday.

Each student had a job, whether it was stuffing the bags, carrying them over to students for sealing or boxing them up.

Teaming up with Rise Against Hunger which globally ships food to people in need, the brigade was part of the first grade class’ campaign to fight world hunger.

Student Ansleigh Thrash was sealing bags with a long stapler.

“I like sealing since you have to push really hard and I’m also really strong,” she said.

After helping seal hundreds of ration bags Friday morning, she said is excited to help fight hunger all around the world.

Airlie Paffingham, a student working in weighing and packing, agreed.

“I like when we get to scoop the rice in,” Paffingham said.

Chris Singleton, Community Engagement Manager for Rise Against Hunger in Kinston, said the packing event Friday was a good example of how enthusiastic elementary students are.

“Our events are always high energy, but you can’t mask that,” Singleton said.

Most of the meals packed by Rise Against Hunger go to 74 different countries, including Central and South America, to help children stay in school.

Singleton, who was been involved with Rise Against Hunger for over seven years, said his minister background brought him to the program.

“I just wanted to do ministry that was more hands-on,” Singleton said.

Amanda Constanzo, a first grade teacher at Dixon, said her students completed a geography study on Bolivia, so they were hoping to have some meals delivered to that specific country.

The meals themselves were packed with dry soy, rice and vegetables along with a vitamin pack and then packaged by teams of first graders and school volunteers.

“I’m very pleased,” Constanzo said. “They went through it (packing) a lot faster than we thought.”

Tiffany Nokes, a school volunteer from Sneads Ferry, came to the event to help out and visit her daughter, Haleigh.

“The kids worked really, really hard,” Nokes said. “It’s awesome to be able to do something like that.”

Dixon was also hosting Leadership day Friday, so students were inviting parents and other visitors to walk through their learning exhibits, like displays on Russia and Colombia.

Constanzo said the events, including Rise Against Hunger, were part of larger learning units for the students.

“The whole thing took this initiative,” Constanzo said. “There was a lot of collaborative reading and researching in preparation for this.”

Other subjects, like math and science, were worked into the learning units, where the students brainstormed on how to aid world hunger -- including fundraising to participate in Rise Against Hunger.

“We put all the kids in charge,” Constanzo joked. “This was all them -- we just called the right people.”


 Reporter Kelsey Stiglitz can be reached at 910-219-8453 or