The School of Engineering and Arts in Golden Valley, Minnesota, has been taking children on field trips to the Calvary Lutheran Church to put together food packets for Feed My Starving Children, a Christian non-profit group that sends food around the world.
One of these school field trips to the church was featured on a 12 News report (video below) in January of 2013.
According to Star Tribune, the American Humanist Association sent a scolding letter to the Robbinsdale School District on Feb. 3 for taking the kids on the field trip, which included packing food for poor families in Haiti.
The American Humanist Association's legal arm stated in the letter:
We fully understand that at least one purpose of this field trip was to have the children participate in charity work intended to assist poverty stricken people. Such good intentions, however, can be pursued in innumerable other ways that do not involve immersing the unsuspecting children into a theologically-charged environment.
... Here, however, both the church and the Christian charity involved have an interest in propagating a specific religious message that is contrary to the views of many of the students and their families. The school has no right to select one Christian church and one Christian charity as a landing ground for public school students, just as it would have no right to direct students to a mosque, a temple, or an atheist group for similar purposes.
Indeed, the religious mission underlying the charity work in question was out in the open in this situation, but your school embraced the event anyway. The packages involved were called “manna” packages, after the edible substance that, according to the Bible, God provided for the Israelites; and the venue involved included extensive religious imagery and symbolism.
Latisha Gray, a spokeswoman for the Robbinsdale School District, told the Star Tribune, "There was absolutely no proselytizing."
However, the Robbinsdale School District recently changed its mind and has decided to stop the field trips to the church.
The American Humanist Association announced in a press release on Dec. 8, "The School of Engineering and Arts in Golden Valley, Minnesota, has decided to work with a nonreligious charity for its student field trips instead of partnering with a local church."