I thought I was getting there early. I am overwhelmed by the smell of over 40 nationalities of food as I walk into the packed gymnasium of Bellevue’s International School for its annual BITE fundraiser.
I have never seen anything like this before. More than 80 booths of families and good friends who cook and fed the almost 600 attendees this year.
What drives these families year after year to cook over 100 servings of their dishes of choice, representing their family’s favorite or traditional dishes from their countries? What gives them the energy to bring the food and serve it for more than two hours to hundreds of people passing by their booth with plates and appetites for free … and with a smile?
It’s the Spirit of International School and the giving way we approach life there. We have more than 25 nationalities representing our student body and we welcome and explore ways to learn about each other in the way the world would if it was just a perfect place of harmony.
We feel lucky, and yes, when we feel lucky we reach out to each other and to the communities of the world which we all represent. We look to see how and who we can help and how we can make a difference.
The International School’s students spearhead this annual fundraiser, led this year by sophomore classmate Will Davidson who says, “It was fun coming together as a community to help out people in other parts of the world.”
The group of students, led by International Studies teacher Tamara Truax, worked hard on researching worthy causes where they can make a difference. This year they reviewed at least seven different charitable organizations and chose FINCA as the charity of choice to donate the BITE funds to.
FINCA was an overwhelmingly popular choice as it helps people, mainly women in poor countries, by giving them small loans to start businesses, often enabling these women to empower themselves and change the lives of their children and their futures. It serves to assist at the core of where assistance should be: helping people to help themselves.
This year’s sold-out fundraiser, held March 30, raised almost $5,000 and also featured great entertainment of seven various music and dance acts.
BITE of International pulls students and families together to help others around the world.
Maral Kirschenmann has 6th grader, Aran Kirschenmann, at International School.