School is a learning center designed to help children become successful. For many low-income families, the school supplies a nutritional safety net where students can receive up to two meals each day. For some, those meals are their only reliable food source.
In North Carolina, nearly 900,000 children go hungry each day. Research shows that hungry children are less likely to thrive. “It should shock us all that so many children in our state don’t get enough to eat,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “We must find ways to help hungry children and their families.”
In Clinton, North Carolina, nearly one in every four children suffer in food-insecure households. Recently, Clinton High School, in conjunction with ASPIRE/Action Pathways, Second Harvest Food Bank, and the North Carolina Community Action Association created its first-ever food pantry to address food insecurity issues. The goal is to ensure no child goes hungry.
Clinton High students have eagerly accepted the pantry since its opening in late August. Mr. H, a Clinton High School teacher’s assistant said, “My students have been asking all day, ‘When are we going to the pantry?’ ‘Is today the day that we can go?’ ‘Is it time to go?’ These students were so excited to come that they brought their canvas bags from home. I think this is the best thing that has happened at CHS in a while. A great school—this is a great addition.”
Here, three Clinton High School students share their experience with the food pantry.
What do you like about the pantry?
“I like the choices. In here, you can get what you want and leave what you don't want. I also like the fruit—peaches and applesauce.”
“I like that we can get all that we want. I love to eat.”
“We are not rushed to get in line and get our food and leave. We can look around and decide what we want. I can pick up food for my family. There are eight people that live in my house. Sometimes, we don't have enough food to eat.”
What is your favorite food in the pantry?
“Apple sauce and peaches fruit cups. I have a lot of other kind of food at home, but we don't have fruit cups.”
“Mac and cheese, salsa, chips, and soup.”
“Yellow rice, apple juice, and peanut butter and jelly.”
What other foods would you like to see in the cooler?
“Apple juice and orange juice and other kinds of juices.”
“Frozen meals---meat and vegetables.”
“Sandwich meat, cheese, milk, ice cream oranges, and apples. I like them.”
The pantry is paving the way to help students live healthier lives and not go hungry.