At a recent meeting, the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Warren County approved $10,000 in grants to support the development of food pantries at Sheffield and Youngsville High Schools. “Faculty members at our schools have long provided food for students in need,” noted Amy Stewart, Superintendent of the Warren County School District. “The Back Pack program highlighted the need for quality food to get our youngest students through the weekend. But older students face the same challenges, and the demands for food at our middle schools and high schools is great and growing.”
“As staff members took on the challenge of providing food for students who need it, we quickly realized that we would benefit from outside help,” Stewart continued. “Hungry students do not learn as well as those students getting enough to eat. Our mission is to help each student realize his or her full potential. That can’t happen if they are not getting enough nutritious food.”
Discussions and meetings with community leaders led to the creation of the District’s Pantry Program and resulted in several sources of funds for the project. Grant requests to the Community Foundation were quickly approved. John Lasher, Executive Director commented, “For the last year the Foundation has become increasingly aware of the needs of our students. We are proud to support programs that help them succeed in school. Good nutrition is important to learning, as it is to all of life.”
The pantries at Sheffield and Youngsville follow a plan established at Beaty Warren Middle School, Warren Area High School and Eisenhower Middle High School. To maximize the value of the dollars contributed, the District is finalizing agreements with Second Harvest Food Bank to provide the items to stock the pantries. “One dollar spent with Second Harvest has the purchasing power of $17 in a retail grocery store,” noted James Grosch, Business Manager for the school district. This will allow us to provide more food to more students while reducing the cost.”
Food is provided to students through a process designed to maintain confidentiality. “As we do with the Back Program, we strive to honor each student’s privacy,” noted Dr. Patricia Hawley, Director of Pupil Services. “Helping students succeed takes on many forms today. Good nutrition in school and out of school is an important component of student success.”
For more information about this and other Warren County School District programs for student success visit wcsdpa.org.