The Greene County School District is utilizing a free food program that benefits all of the students.
Organizer Emily Gannon says the district is using the Food Pantry Program through the Food Bank of Iowa. It’s a free program where Gannon orders food once per month and the food is then stored and distributed weekly to each school building in the district. Gannon points out that food items are given to students for their households to help get them through the weekend. She adds that they have extra food items on hand for students during the week as well.
“The best part for me is when we have kids who come in late or (who) didn’t like lunch or something like that we usually have a small thing to get them through the day and help them do a better job while they are at school.”
Gannon says last year Elementary School Nurse Mary Pedersen started the Food Bank of Iowa’s Backpack Program, which allows for food to be given to only kids in grades kindergarten through fourth grade. Gannon thought that by switching it to the Food Pantry Program, all k-12 students could utilize it and it can be used for their entire household.
“We decided to house it (the program) at the high school we were thinking that high school kids were more aware of the household situation. The high school would be a good foundation for it because they could advocate for their younger siblings. So it’s been interesting to see all levels of kids and their understanding of the need in their household.”
She adds that currently she distributes about 25 bags of food per week, but is hoping that as students and parents learn more about the program, more will take advantage of it.