Jessica is upset because Lila always gets whatever she wants. She dreams about a bracelet she saw in the mall, only to have Lila show up wearing the exact same one. The principal calls a special assembly and lets everyone know that SVMS is starting a new program where all the kids have to do volunteer work. Both she and Lila want to work in the mayor’s office, but all of the jobs are randomly assigned.
Jessica winds up with the health trailer and Lila gets the homeless shelter. Jessica discovers that Elizabeth got the mayor’s office and doesn’t want it, so she offers to trade. Lila shows up and they all start arguing over who she get which job. Jessica offers to do all of her chores, but Lila offers her a limousine ride. Lila finally offers her $200 for the soup kitchen, and Elizabeth makes the trade, which pisses Jessica off because it proves that Lila can buy anything.
The health trailer is naturally boring. The nurse in charge keeps yelling at Jessica for screwing things up, and Winston who also volunteers there isn’t any help. The nurse gets ticked when Jessica dares to eat a candy bar, and she assigns her the task of creating a display on the lungs. One of the pieces is missing and the nurse claims that she must have lost it because no company would ever forget a piece. Then she tells her at the last minute that she needs to give a speech about the lungs to a bunch of kids.
Lila gets off on the wrong foot at the mayor’s office because she pulls out the “I’m a rich kid” card. She gets stuck doing jobs like folding brochures, but it’s okay because she meets a cute high school guy named Paul. She brags to Jessica about how he’s super cute and really likes her even though he basically never says a word to her.
Elizabeth likes her job the most. She gets discouraged when she learns how many people use the soup kitchen and she wants to help, so she gives her boss Andre the money. He starts dreaming about all the things he can do with it before heading to the health trailer for Jessica’s demonstration.
Jessica completely messes up by claiming that you breathe through your stomach. The kids go all squirrelly and the balloon shoots off the display and flies around the room. It all gets captured on video and shown on the news, so everyone starts making fun of her. Right before the demonstration, she overhears two men talking about Paul and how he was a delinquent who was forced into doing volunteer work. She also sees him pick up a brochure, smile, and put it in his pocket.
The next day, everyone descends on the health trailer because Andre lost his money. He tucked it into a brochure and it went missing, but they never find it. Elizabeth starts thinking about how one of the women she works with told her and her grandson that people used to keep money in their cookie jars, and Mandy mentions seeing the same boy near a cookie jar. Conveniently, there’s a rummage sale going on to raise money.
Jessica tells the adults about Paul, and he loses his position. Lila tries to give him the $200, but he refuses to take it because he didn’t do anything wrong. Everyone shows up for a big health fair and Elizabeth realizes that the little boy probably took the money. She tells Lila and they run to find the cookie jars, but someone already bought it. Lila tracks the man down and offers him $600 for the jar.
The mayor overhears their conversation, and Lila tells her what happened. They open the jar and find the money inside. The mayor is so happy that she gives Paul his job back and tells the whole group to go out for ice cream. They all head off together, and Paul calls Lila a kid, making it clear that he isn’t really into her.
*Elizabeth describes all the food in the soup kitchen and then Andre tells her that it will only last for one day. At one point, they have 30 big boxes of dried pasta, but it’s only one meal. Then again, the meal consists of soup, bread, two sandwiches, fruit, cheese, drinks, dessert, and a casserole, so maybe that’s why they go through so much!
*Elizabeth naturally comes across as a bit of a bitch in this one. She keeps bragging about her work and how everyone should work in a soup kitchen, but it doesn’t really seem like she does much.
*There’s an article in the paper about how citizens want the city to stop spending money on useless projects like student internships. Um, does it really cost the city anything to have middle school kids work for free?
*This is supposedly a school wide thing, but the only time they mention people working, it’s all sixth graders.
*I thought Sweet Valley was the best place in the world, so why do they need free daycare, soup kitchens, etc.?
*Oh, and if there’s free daycare, then why in The Unicorns do parents not have anywhere to take their kids?
*You have to love the clearly Photoshopped cover on this one!
*Lila wears a silk button up shirt and a wool skirt for her first day in the mayor’s office, which once again does not sound like something a 12-year-old should wear.