North Carolina High Schoolers Open Food Pantry To Help Their Classmates

North Carolina High Schoolers Open Food Pantry To Help Their Classmates

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Washington High School’s food pantry project initially started as a temporary initiative led by the student government. However, it has quickly transformed into a permanent endeavor, operating on a daily basis with the goal of assisting underprivileged students.

There are no bureaucratic procedures, applications, or proof of need required to access the pantry. Students in need are welcome to take food from the shelves without any questions asked.

Senior student Erin Lewis explained to WNCT, "We wanted to focus on those who need it, but may not feel comfortable expressing their need to us."

Supervisor Laura Thompson views the pantry program as more than just a community service project; she believes it is an essential addition to the school’s curriculum, aiming to educate students holistically. "We are here to educate you for life. Part of that includes nourishing the entire student, both their mind and body. When we accomplish both of those things, we know students will have better outcomes," Thompson shared with WNCT.

School organizers have intentionally designed the program to ensure anonymity. The pantry is neither advertised nor promoted, and students are not singled out in any way. Teachers state that students discover the pantry through word of mouth, and peer referrals have become crucial to the pantry’s success.

Washington High School is located in Beaufort County, roughly 100 miles east of Raleigh. According to recent Census Bureau data, 21% of the county’s population lives below the poverty line. This figure is nearly 6 points higher than the national average of 15.4% and 3.5 points higher than the state average of 17.5%.

In addition to the food pantry, Washington High School also endeavors to provide clothes, school supplies, and sanitation items to students in need.

The school’s spirit of generosity extends beyond its campus. The Beaufort County School District is currently organizing a coat drive to support students from pre-K to 12th grade. Additionally, an elementary school in the district recently collected supplies to assist victims of the South Carolina floods.

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  • owengriffiths

    Owen Griffiths is 35 years old and a blogger and teacher. He has written about education for over 10 years and has a passion for helping others learn.