Daily Star photo/JESSICA SIEFF Evan Nowak (center) a fourth-grader at Ballard Elementary, led his class in a week-long collection of egg cartons to be donated to The Salvation Army. The Salvation Army recently became in need of egg cartons after an anonymous area farmer began donating medium-sized eggs to the organization's food pantry program. Pictured are members of his fourth grade classmates who helped with the drive and teacher Sean Banyon.

Archived Story

Some good eggs

Published 10:43pm Thursday, March 24, 2011

For Evan Nowak, a fourth-grader at Ballard Elementary School in Niles, sitting down to dinner with his family and listening to his mother talk about her day at work was more than just casual conversation.
It was a call to action.
Evan listened as his mother told him about how one area farmer, wishing to remain anonymous, had offered to donate medium eggs to help feed the hungry.
Evan’s mom, Jan Nowak-Lumm, is director of caring ministries and social services at the Niles Salvation Army.
Evan decided to do his own part to help those in need. While The Salvation Army was being given a gift of eggs, what they still needed was something to put the eggs in when giving them out as part of their food pantry services.
So Evan organized an egg carton drive.
“I had the idea of doing it for the fourth grade,” he said.
He went to his teacher, Sean Banyon.
“It didn’t surprise me at all that he came up with this,” Banyon said. He describes the fourth-grader as a “really caring kid” who is always coming up with ideas.
“It’s something fairly easy that we can all do,” Banyon said.
Evan had to come up with a rough draft of a flier to be sent home to the parents of fourth-graders at Ballard, which he did, working with Principal David Eichenberg.
“We made it like a ‘wanted’ poster,” Evan said.
The reward for those egg cartons donated? Candy. The students had more than 25 cartons collected Thursday. Evan said the class was seeing an average of around seven cartons come in each day. He said he expects to see a good number come in for the last day of the week-long collection.
“Each egg carton can support a normal family for like a week or two,” Evan said.
Nowak said getting a gift of donated eggs is not just helpful, but a blessing.
The farm-fresh food is not something organizations like hers come by often, and the eggs offer a significant source of protein to the daily diet.
“Almost all that we give is shelf-stable stuff,” she said. “It’s hard to come by fresh stuff.”
As long as those chickens keep laying eggs, she said, “this will be an ongoing level of support for us.”
And the push for egg cartons will continue at Ballard Elementary School. Banyon said students will begin sorting for egg cartons through the school’s recycling program so they can keep giving to The Salvation Army to help, much to Evan’s delighted surprise.
“I didn’t know you were going to do that,” he said.
Nowak said it’s wonderful to know that an area farmer has the “heart to want to do this.”
As for her son, it’s safe to say she’s probably pretty proud of him too.
Helping others, Evan said, is important especially when the situation can become dire.
“They could die if they didn’t have heat or food,” he said of those in great need. “My mom helps with the heat. But I think I can help with the food.”

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