In many communities, a large percentage of students rely on free and reduced meals at school, and the disappearance of these meals, particularly in the summer, puts enormous strain on families.
Grants have allowed the Freestore Foodbank to pilot a new initiative designed to provide permanent on-site food assistance at select local schools with very high food insecurity rates. The pantries are located on school grounds with the purpose of having year-round accessibility. They offer fresh, shelf stable foods along with recipe cards to help with meal preparation.
The pantries are located at:
- Oyler School
- Newport Middle School
- Northwest Middle School
- Glen Este Middle School
- Dayton High School
- Pendleton County H.S.
- Healthy Jr/Sr H.S.
- Ripley –Union-Lewis
- East Central- Dearborn
- Western Hills H.S.
“These sites represent very different sides of poverty with diverse racial, ethnic, and historical backgrounds,” said Kurt Reiber, Freestore Foodbank President and CEO. “This grant will allow us to gather evidence on the effectiveness of on-sight School Pantry programs in diverse locations.”
Feeding America, a hunger-relief organization with a nationwide network of 200 food banks, developed the School Pantry model to support older students. School pantries compliment Power Packs—weekend food assistance that is geared toward elementary-aged children.
“The school is a trusted environment where middle and high-school aged students, as well as their families can feel most comfortable getting the help they need from staff they know” says Jaspreet Bindra, Feeding America Programs Specialist.
“Families have been expressing such gratitude for the Freestore Foodbank, because without you partnering with us, our families would lack the ability to have this resource,” said Jamie Luggen of Oyler School.
While the grants allowed the Freestore Foodbank to initiate this program over the summer, additional support is needed to continue throughout the school year. If you are interested in learning more about the program, or seeing how your contribution could make a difference, please contact Jamie Lydenberg.