A school in Monroe County is making sure its students don’t go hungry.
An old classroom at East Stroudsburg Area High School South has been transformed into a food pantry.
And the community has come together to make it happen.
This empty classroom at East Stroudsburg Area High School South now has a new purpose.
Purple Pantry Committee Chair Gwen Jones says, "The paraprofessional and student helpers and teachers saw there were many kids that were not functioning properly in the classroom and when asked, a lot of them said well I’m hungry."
It’s called the Purple Pantry. Pasta, canned goods and more now fill the room allowing students to get what they need. We’re told about 54 percent of the kids at the high school are living at or below the poverty line and some are homeless.
Jones says, "For them to know that they can come to school and have teachers to feed their minds and can now feed their stomachs, can feed their spirits, can feed their souls that’s what this is all about."
It was really important to officials that students feel comfortable enough to come into the classroom to pick out their food. That’s why they created a survey online so that they could remain private and they could just do it whenever they please.
Community Outreach Chair Michael Healey says, "The results only go to myself and Gwen Jones. Students are called down on a Thursday or Friday with their bookbags. They’re serviced, they can take any addition of food that they would like before a weekend, holidays or if we know there’s a severe winter storm."
The wall-to-wall food came from generous donations from staff, local businesses individuals and organizations.
Healey says, "I’ve been teaching in the Poconos for 16 years and one thing I’ve learned about Monroe County is that we are a community that cares."
And that community support is needed to keep the pantry going. Right now they could use things like nonperishable milk, pancake mix, sauces and meats. You can drop your donation off at the high school’s main office.