October is Tackling Hunger Month and one out of four kids in our region are at risk for not having enough food to eat. Thanks to a new partnership with a Pennsylvania nonprofit, teachers at a high school in Pike County no longer have to worry about their students going hungry.
It’s delivery day at East Stroudsburg High School North. Teachers and students are busy unloading food from CHOP which stands for Child Hunger Outreach Partners.
Special Education Teacher Lisa Minnichbach says, "Every student is eligible for the pantry. Right now, as of the delivery that’s coming in today, we have approximately 40 students that have signed up."
FOR THE PAST TWO YEARS— THE TIMBERWOLVES FOOD PANTRY WAS STOCKED BY THE TEACHERS… BUT THEY WEREN’T ABLE TO SERVICE EVERYONE IN THE SCHOOL…
Minnichbach says, "Many of our students are asking teachers through the course of the day for snacks, that they need food and teachers are spending their own money trying to provide snacks for our students and after awhile, it becomes very expensive for the teachers."
Thanks to partnering with the nonprofit this September, students in need are provided each Friday with a bag of non-perishable food which is made possible in-part by local food banks. Bags include easy-to-prepare meals and snacks that can be eaten over the weekend.
CHOP Delivery Driver Clifton Jones says, "We got apples, Nutri-Grain Bars, gummy bears, crackers, noodles, soups, mac-n-cheese, anything you can think of, nine times out of ten, we have it."
Jones not only loves the reaction he gets at the various schools…
Jones says, "They know what’s coming, “oh food!” Kids waving at you."
But he knows first-hand what a difference each bag makes.
Jones says, "My kids go to schools that receive CHOP food benefits and I see it every weekend, they get a bag every Friday. I believe they’re part of the Backpack program."
Students also get a free snack at the end of the day. There’s two locations like this one where kids can come up and order whatever they like.
Minnichbach says, "In the beginning, the kids were wondering if there were any strings attached to this and wondering oh there’s free food. And now, we’re getting more and more kids at the end of the day our carts are almost empty, which we know we’re servicing a lot more students."
Every student can get in line for a snack. And the hope is parents watching tonight will learn about the backpack program so they can fill out the form and have their child benefit in Bushkill.