A full family food pantry

MN food pantry helps students, families in need

Gracie Schweers, Social Media Editor

It’s three o’clock on a typical Friday. Most students are ready to head home, excited for a weekend of no school. But for some, Fridays involve wondering where their meals are going to come from for the next two days.

That’s where the MN food pantry comes in. Since January, students in need have been able to fill a backpack on Fridays with the food and supplies their families need for the weekend.  

“It’s a pantry that we have for students to access,” community counselor Rachel Vacek said. “We get food from a couple of different churches, and we are [also] doing the staff drive.” 

The drive includes members of the MN staff bringing in items designated by their department through the month of September, such as personal hygiene items, grains, sweets and snacks, protein, dairy, drinks, and fruits and vegetables. Staff can also enter their name into a raffle when bringing in items.

One teacher that donates regularly is math teacher Ellen Mcnemar, who believes that a good meal impacts a student’s education. 

“[I donate] because I’m a mom, and kids can’t go hungry, and they can’t concentrate if they’re starving,” Mcnemar said. 

In addition to last month’s drive, National Honor Society held a fundraiser last February for the pantry. They raised just over $300, which Vacek uses to buy items they may be low on for the grocery store.  

“I’ve learned that there is a bigger need than what we realized,” Vacek said. “What began with four students has grown to serve more than 20 students every week.”

One unnamed student, who uses the pantry describes how they became involved with it. 

“I got an email about it, and I joined. It was as simple as that,” the student said. “You have to be in a certain struggle of money or poverty to be able to be a part of it.” 

Students in need can talk to their counselor about their situation if they would like to be signed up for the pantry.

“[On Fridays] I normally pick out snack foods, canned foods like soups, bread if they have it. [I usually pick] necessity stuff if we don’t have it at the house,” the student said. “It really has impacted me in a good way because it helps a lot with my family.”

Students involved in the pantry can go in during class throughout the week to pick their items, but the bulk of it is done on Fridays, right before students leave for the weekend. 

“It really does help people in the situation, like if your family is struggling with food or if you can’t pass by with money,” the student said. “The pantry  is a very good place to get food when you’re in need of it.”