For more than 25 years, the Sunshine School children have been taking the train from Pawling to nearby towns as part of a unit on transportation. Two years ago, we learned of the Center of Compassion in Dover Plains. It is run by the local churches and provides a food pantry and thrift shop for the community. Because this is the season of giving, we talked to the children about how some families have less than they need to cook a holiday dinner and that if we collect food for them, we will help them enjoy the holiday. We divide the food we collect between the Center of Compassion and the Pawling Resource Center, because Sunshine children come predominately from Pawling and the Wingdale/Dover Plains area. Now in November, we combine the lesson on transportation with the lesson on giving and sharing. We take the train to Dover Plains and deliver the food we collected to the Center of Compassion food pantry, sing some songs for the volunteers and patrons there, have a snack and then ride the train back to Pawling. The children are very proud to actually put the food their families sent in on the shelves and know that someone will soon use it. Also, the experience of a train ride is always fun, but a ride with such an important destination makes it even nicer.
Miss Suzanne at the Center of Compassion is very welcoming and appreciative of our visits. She also commented on how well behaved the children from the Sunshine School are. We take field trips all year long and experience the many things that the Pawling area has to offer. We learn something special from each trip, but we learn the importance of giving from our trip to the Center of Compassion. Because this is such an important life lesson, we are planning to continue to collect food through the end of December.
Please enjoy a fun movie trailer of the children’s field trip.