By Robert Stitt
It isn’t just adults who go hungry and don’t have enough money for food. Sometimes, teens are the ones who take care of themselves or their families. Yet, when are we more socially awkward or sensitive than in our teen years? It is hard enough to ask for help without the added pressure of adolescence making asking for food truly embarrassing. Students at a high school in Beaufort County, North Carolina, had an answer to this dilemma and have worked hard to put it into practice.
In order to help their fellow students in need, several students and their advisors started a food pantry at the school. According to WNCT, “The food pantry started out as a student government project at Washington High School, but the benefit of having the resources available permanently soon became clear.”
The food pantry donations and withdrawals are completely anonymous and students can help themselves as needed, without question. It is stocked with nonperishable food items, school supplies and clothes. One of the seniors who helped start the pantry, Erin Lewis, noted, “We wanted to focus on those that need it, but they don’t want to tell us that they need it.”
Jennifer Beach is a guidance counselor at Washington High. “We don’t want the students to be embarrassed or the family to feel like they’ve done something wrong,” she said. Students who could use some assistance simply need to find a guidance counselor and mention that they heard there was a pantry. There are no formal advertisements.
The supervisor in charge of the project, Laura Thompson, said the original thought was to help students realize that school was more than just a place to study and take tests. “It’s the idea that we’re not just here to teach you the material that you need to know to pass a test,” Thompson told the station. “We’re here to educate you for life. Part of that is nourishing the whole student, mind and body, and when we do both of those things, we know students will have great outcomes.”