Hungry to Help Out

Hungry to Help Out

Marina Zakrajsek, Guidance News Columnist

With the start of a new year, it is prime time to start New Year’s resolutions, including donating to the newly founded food pantry at Vestal High School.

This year, Mrs. Wallach and Mrs. Martino created a food pantry available to those who could use some support, distributing food while maintaining confidentiality.

The pantry has attended recent school sporting events, creating the option of bringing in food for free admission to the event while helping to support both the food drive and Vestal athletics.

To help raise money for the food pantry there are plenty of fundraisers planned for the future and a PTO grant is providing 200 dollars that will further contribute to gaining more shelf space.

Mrs. Wallach has some experience with food pantries, as she has worked with CHOW outside of school. Wallach emphasized that “We are sensitive about people’s dignity as it’s really important.” To help with confidentiality, the pantry is reaching out to families, delivering the food via bus route when viable for pick up, and creating a menu of their collection to allow families to place their orders.

Although students can not directly work at the pantry due to the strict confidentiality rules, upfront student assistance is always appreciated. Garden Club is already helping to contribute by growing lettuce that is intended to be an addition to the pantry in the spring!

There were a lot of trials and errors about how to address this system. “Figuring out the nitty-gritty of disturbing the food,” Martino said, has been one of the trickier parts of starting the pantry. Collecting the food is half of the challenge; finding the best approach on delivery and storage options opens up other difficulties. The pantry plans to be open later for those parents that work late when trying to cater to as many people as possible.

The turn-out of the drive has been great, and is planning only to get better. Initially, there was a select amount of food items, but having been open, the pantries variety has greatly increased. VHS student donations are “helping us to help others,” says Martino.

While you’re out and planning to address your own personal resolution, take the time to grab a couple cans to give to the high school food pantry.