She stands up, jittery before approaching, in front of the entire AcaDec team. Her train of thought is a little all over the place, yet she keeps going with her speech, reminding herself of how she is helping prevent a student’s hunger. Junior Julia Brown delivers her speech confidently, asking for donations for the pantry.
To help accommodate students’ essential needs, Julia launched the new Tiger Pantry in November, which is comprised of hygiene products and food donations available to any student who has the need for them.
“I know there are other students who may not be under any assistance programs, but they have some sort of complication to where they don’t have their needs such as hygiene products at home,” she said. “I know that is very distracting in a school environment and my goal is to help those students who don’t have the resources to help them gain access to things so their issues in school are just school-related.”
The pantry is located at the assistant principal’s office, near the cafeteria, where microwaveable meals, snacks, toothbrushes, shampoo, etc. are available as needed throughout the school day.
“There is a bin that has anything (students) need and a signup sheet that just asks for their ID number so that they don’t have to put their name,” Julia said. “We wanted to make it as anonymous as possible so that students aren’t afraid to get something.”
While students can donate, they will be able to involve themselves with the pantry even more once the pantry evolves as a club, which will assist with the organization of the program.
“(Students can get involved by) donating,” Julia said. “We are forming it as a club, so we can pass it on. There are probably going to be officers and maybe meetings, but right now we are in the beginning phase of it.”
To help advertise, yet maintain a balance of privacy, emails were sent to the faculty to let them share the word of the pantry with students who may benefit from it.
“We want this for the kids who really need it and I think there was some fear with people just coming in here all the time who don’t really need it, but who are just taking advantage of it,” Assistant Principal Stephanie Martinez said. “But at the same time, I haven’t really seen that so far.”
To make it easier, students can request specific supplies to fit their needs by writing on the inside of the pantry donation box.
“If there is anything in there they would like to see or continue, they can write their comments,” Martinez said. “So now we are getting feedback of what they would use or won’t use and it also helps keep track of the inventory.”
Junior Ethan Nguyen, who already brought donations, is in support of this because of its potential, positive effects.
“A lot of kids have good intentions and good hearts,” he said. “To have this program where we can engage in, I think it will help a large percentage of people who require this.”