Scratch Summer Camp raises over $2,000 for the Monroe Food Pantry

Bonnie Maur, left, matched the donations raised for the Monroe Food Pantry by, from left, Masuk freshmen Bhuvan Hospet, Ben Londono and Anish Sharma.

MONROE — Three Masuk freshmen created Scratch Summer Camp and taught 35 students coding over two weeks, while raising over $2,000 for the Monroe Food Pantry. Bhuvan Hospet, Ben Londono and Anish Sharma presented a check to Kathleen Turner, coordinator of the food pantry, on Friday afternoon.

“It’s great that we can give this money to the food pantry, because a lot of people don’t have jobs now and need help and support,” Londono said.

The coronavirus pandemic dealt a blow to the economy, as many lost their jobs and are having difficulty putting food on the table. But Turner said donations have been pouring in since the spring.

“I wasn’t expecting as much support as we’ve had,” she said. “I think the community has been really supportive since March and April.”

The Masuk students raised $1,075, more than double their goal of $500. Then Bonnie Maur, of Monroe, pledged to match it. Maur, a longtime educator for Monroe public schools, is now STEM director for the Isabel Carrington College of Education at Sacred Heart University.

Maur said she read The Monroe Sun article about the coding camp in July, saw how it supported science, technology, engineering and math  (STEM) education, and decided to help.

A love of coding

Hospet, Londono and Sharma said the coding camp, taught online through Google Meet, was a success.

“It was fun,” Londono said.

“It was a unique experience,” Hospet said. “I know Ben, Anish and I are passionate about coding and we got to share that.”

With the camp, Sharma said they wanted to start students off on a path, where they could learn coding for the real world.

“Once you get started, you can easily fall in love with it,” Hospet said of coding. “You just have to be introduced to it first.”

“With a strong foundation in coding, you can learn anything, because there are a lot of resources online and it introduces a new way of thinking, as well,” Sharma said. “It can be applied to logic and problem solving.”

Hospet said kids who participated in the camp had fun making video games.

“It’s really great to see the kids make games they can play — and to see their work and the logic behind it,” he said.

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