Spotlight on Volunteers
In October 2017, our generous friends at Centenary United Methodist Church initiated a program to supply our students with food to take home to their families. Since then, they have provided thousands of meals and snacks to Street School families.
In the beginning, volunteers “double bagged” nonperishable groceries meant to supplement weekend meals at home for Street School families. Students could simply grab a bag on their way out and were basically guaranteed they were getting a meal for four people. The bags always included extra items and it was a very popular program.
Fast forward to the fall of 2021. We noticed student participation had declined. We started dismantling bags and placing the items on some out of the way shelves. We encouraged students to take what they wanted or needed home with them. We noticed the
shelf supplies gradually diminishing and our wonderful volunteers, Holly Lee and Magan Smith, agreed that we had “morphed” into a Student Choice Food Pantry.
Centenary United Methodist Church funds the pantry, while Magan and Holly stock the shelves. Kate May is their Centenary liaison. These women ask Mike Foster to send a photograph of the shelves and shop accordingly. They are very enthusiastic when they relate stories of shopping trips. If you know either of them, please ask. They now bring grab-and-go items for our students running to catch the city bus: fresh fruit, bread, and peanut butter and jelly. The upper shelves have teen friendly servings of fruit, oatmeal, noodles, and Pop-Tarts®, etc. Lower shelves have chili, meat sauce, pasta, vegetables, and tuna. Students from our adult program often stop by and take some groceries home after grabbing a lunch “to- go” box; that is several free meals in one stop.
Our students share not only gratitude but also empathy with these volunteers. Holly appreciates the empathy she saw in a student who asked if it was okay to take food home to a neighbor in need. Magan mentioned that a current student “warmed her heart” by sharing how thankful she is to be at the Street School.
The Student Choice Food Pantry is such an incredible example of meeting our students where they are on their journey towards graduation. We appreciate all our supporters who help support the Street School mission; thank you!