According to findings from a Second Harvest Food Bank Community Needs Assessment, a School Pantry program has the potential to reach many students who could benefit from food assistance yet are unable or unwilling to take advantage of current opportunities for food assistance, or also known as “interventions.”
Interviews with school nurses, counselors, teachers and other community stakeholders noted that the Food Bank’s Food for Kids program is necessary and worthwhile. Sadly, however, those interviewed stated that a social stigma was associated with receiving the backpack; and for this reason, many children and youth do not participate. A school pantry could offer an opportunity for the parents of children and youth to access needed food in a safe and neutral environment.
The Food Bank has started two School Pantries, one with Greeneville City Schools and their Family Resource Center and another with First United Methodist Church in Johnson City, TN. For more information about the School Pantry program, contact Mary Beth Williams, Child Hunger Corps Specialist, at 423.477.4053, x. 226.