Food pantry opens

Just Foods partners with school to provide food for LHS community


Sami Turner

Students and faculty went around town to buy new items for the pantry. This restock happens weekly to keep the options for students and families fresh. Some of the things you can have at the pantry include canned and boxed goods, bread, eggs, and others.

By Cuyler Dunn, Staff Writer

Just Foods, based in Lawrence, opened a school food pantry last fall for LHS students and families. The food bank reached out to schools all the schools in the district with the goal of setting up food banks on campus to offer new grocery and snack options for everyone.

The food pantry is open to all LHS families for cheaper groceries or snacks during the school day.

“Some people don’t have enough to eat at home and so it helps to supplement until other food can come in. It’s not the sole source of food for most people,” WRAP employee Suanne Nicolet said. “We have kids who come by and get snacks, so it helps when you’re hungry and again I think it just helps support families that need a little extra help here and there.”

The food pantry opened in the fall and has continued to grow throughout the school year.

“We’re doing very well actually; our numbers are continuing to increase,” Nicolet said. “I’m not sure everybody is still aware we have this in terms of the students and families so we’ve been slowly trying to advertise, and word of mouth helps tremendously.”

The pantry is located by the Main Gym and is open during school hours. Any student can contact the office staff in students services to take them down. The main goals of the project are to help families if a food crisis strikes and to provide snacks for students who miss a meal.

“Most people have experienced a time where they’ve struggled to make ends meet because bills are never ending,” social worker Lynisha Thomas said. “It’s awesome that we have this available to supply that need for anyone that needs it too.”

Many students take advantage of the snacks in the last few weeks. Some taking bigger items so their families are able to cook at home. The staff encourages all students to reach out for help whatever their situation is.

“It’s okay to reach out for help,” said social worker Carissa Welsh. “Everyone in Student Services is here to assist students in whatever way will help them be successful. I take about 3-4 students to the food pantry per week. That’s just how many I take. I know the other Mental Health Team members take students as well. I think, and hope, the word is getting out more that the food pantry is available to all students.”

Students telling their families will help it grow in popularity, something the staff involved are pushing for.

“It’s kind of new, but I think what’s most successful is telling the parents,” said social worker Sylvio Trevino-Mack. “I think what students need to know is that this is for anybody and everybody and you need to check out what they have because it just saves money.”

Any students and their families are welcome to shop and snack at the food bank. The goal is to stop food from creating a barrier that makes learning more difficult.

“You don’t have to be completely out of money,” said Trevino-Mack. “This is for if your parents want to save twenty dollars and

would rather get some free stuff. Many of these products are going to go bad before anybody takes them, so were actually helping by consuming things instead of just wasting.”

The pantry gets new food every week, so there’s always a variety in choices. It’s intended for all students to be able to save money or grab a snack during the school day.

“I think it’s worth going and looking at,” Trevino-Mack said, “and if you don’t find anything at least you looked. You can come back the next week and see if they have anything knew. That’s the surprise element, and I think it’s cool.”