School Pantries Help Oklahoma Families In Need
EDMOND, Oklahoma - The Food for Kids program not only provides backpacks for kids dealing with hunger, but also food pantries for needy families. At Cimarron Middle School in Edmond, the coordinator there knows firsthand the struggle of being hungry.
"When I was younger, my father had lost his job for a while," said Gena Money, School Pantry Co-Coordinator.
During this time, Gena Money remembers how difficult it was for her parents to keep food on the table.
"We didn't stay on it for a long time but we were on it long enough for our family to understand and see the need for programs just like this," said Money.
Now with the help of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, she helps keep the food pantry stocked at Cimarron Middle School.
"We all understand what the feeling of hunger is like but I don't feel we truly understand the hunger that the students feel who don't have any access to food," she said.
The School Pantry Program provides chronically hungry middle and high school students with food after school and over the weekends and school holidays. The pantries are located on school grounds. This is the third year the school has offered the pantry, a need that has doubled this year at her school.
"We really try to be mindful of things that are fairly quick and easy but healthy at the same time so granola bars, peanut butter, snacks, things that are filled with protein," said Money.
With the help of her volunteers, Money packs the food into backpacks and then they take the food and place it inside the students' lockers while they are in class.
"I feel very fortunate to be in a situation and at a school where I have the opportunity to help students because after all it's all about the kids," she said.
The school holds several food drives throughout the year to help keep the pantry shelves stocked. If you would like to donate or volunteer with the Food for Kids program, just go here: http://regionalfoodbank.org/ or text FFK to 501501.