School Offers Food Shelf For Students, Families In Need
There’s plenty to be distracted by in a classroom, but far too many children are detracted by hunger. At Murphy Elementary School in Grand Rapids, the staff has started a food shelf to ensure that no student has to worry about if or when they’ll have their next meal.
The Thunderhawk Connections program will help students and their families with more than just a good meal, but other supplies to stay focused in school.
Second Harvest North Central Food Bank first approached Independent School District 318 two years ago about using a grant for a food shelf. Murphy Elementary was previously unable to accommodate the space, until this year.
The delay was not from lack of necessity- there has been an overwhelming need for assistance in the district. The school’s principal says 40 to 60 percent of families receive free or reduced price lunches.
But even getting to lunch is part of the issue. Bryan Fideldy says some of his students have had to ask him for food before. Three of his students have started to use the pantry for snack times.
The panty will provide these basic necessities that families might not otherwise have.
These issues are happening across the district as well, according to Kathy Fannin, who works at Southwest Elementary and provides connections to area resources. But, these other resources, like the food bank, may be overwhelming for some.
The school and Second Harvest hopes this discreet service expands to other schools over time.
For now, the grant will provide supplies for the next two to three months. The school will then have to look for sponsors or receive donations to run the free service.