It was before school let out for summer that young Sierra J., Class of 2021, Alexander Central High School (ACHS), felt compelled to send a note to a local reporter after he’d visited her school, located in the southwestern part of Second Harvest’s service area.
Sierra sat quietly as the reporter spoke with school leaders and community partners. Afterwards, she composed thoughts about the school food pantry, a partnership between the school, Second Harvest, and two of Second Harvest’s strong local food assistance partners.
“There was something said that caught my ear,” wrote Sierra. “It was about the stigma around food pantries. I don’t want to say that there aren’t some who are harsh about the situations of others. But from what I’ve experienced and seen, getting help is actually encouraged between students. The school food pantry isn’t just a place where you can get food, it’s a place you can go and feel welcomed and like you are not alone in times of need. Especially with COVID having such a huge impact, we look after each other here.”
Darlene Berry, the School Social Worker at ACHS, explained further: “Through the challenges of COVID-19, our school and greater community have come together to make sure our children and teens can access the nutrition they need – whether school is in session or not. New approaches for getting meals to students and families were not only possible, but important and life sustaining. Our school benevolence programs – food, school supplies, hygiene products, clothing – came under one roof because it became critical, a priority. Now the space is, as Sierra said, a safe, calm haven for our students.”
Pandemic-related government programs are making a difference for families with children who are struggling through the on-going public health and economic crises. These programs are working in tandem with non-profit initiatives, including those of the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC network, to help ensure that every child, every family, can live their healthiest, best life – and that begins with consistent access to healthy foods.
Your on-going support is essential to Second Harvest's efforts to sustain and expand our responses to childhood hunger. Please consider making a gift today.