Starting a School Pantry

By Aimee Stone Munsell
Food Insecurity

Did you know that hungry students attend class in every school district in America? The very first PORCH chapter started when some parents realized their kids were bringing in lunch to share with classmates who didn’t have their own and we’ve seen an increasing number of school pantries being created in local schools and colleges to help address food insecurity.

The federal free school lunch and breakfast programs are critical services for students who qualify. However, even if you are a student who qualifies to eat a free breakfast and lunch at school (and not all districts offer both and not every student has access to the transportation needed to arrive at  school in time for breakfast), 50% of your meals are still unaccounted for.  And of course, school meals don’t reach the rest of your hungry family. 

Many food insecure families face big challenges in accessing supplemental  food services and preparing healthy meals. Sending their kids home from school with healthy food is a simple and effective way to address the access issues. 

Ways PORCH Communities can help your local school pantry:

PORCH Communities mobilizes and supports local volunteers to create sustainable hunger relief programs. Every local PORCH chapter uses our proven programs in ways that meet their local needs, such as:

A conversation is all it takes to get started 

PORCH works with existing organizations and experts in place such as school social workers to support their efforts and help fill outstanding gaps.  School social workers are tasked to ensure students’ well being and food insecurity is usually just one part of a situation they may be dealing with. The first step to helping is to investigate what the need is. Contact your school or district’s social worker and let them know you are interested in working with them to help families with food insecurity. Here are some questions you can ask:  

Join the PORCH community of changemakers
Once you understand the need at your school including the number of families that typically need food and which pantry items are most needed to be stocked monthly, you can act to fill that gap. And you don’t have to do it alone. PORCH Communities provides hands-on support, tools and connections to other PORCH volunteer leaders who have done it before. Contact us to learn more about how to join our growing community of volunteers making it easy for neighbors to help neighbors in their towns.