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New food pantry at Raleigh high school serves hungry students

Posted October 17

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— New food pantries opening in five Wake County high schools this month will make sure students aren't hungry during non-school hours.

Over 56,000 students at schools in Wake County qualify for free and reduced lunches, but many have trouble getting the nutrition they need when they leave campus in the afternoon.

Now, a group of teachers and volunteers are working to make sure students at local high schools aren't hungry outside the classroom. Coordinator Christine Williams is working with others to start the first-ever food pantry inside Mary Phillips High School in Raleigh.

The pantry is stocked with healthy food options, and the resources are available to anyone who needs them. Students can pick-up as many items as they'd like - even enough to take home for family members.

The food items in the pantry are donated by volunteers and by the Interfaith Food Shuttle.

"We have fruits, vegetables, cereal and more," said Williams. "Teachers - myself included - have spent money out of our own pockets to help kids, so you know this is really needed. You are not going to perform well academically if you are hungry."

The high school food pantry is a novel concept not to be confused with the Backpack Buddies program, which provides backpacks of food to elementary and middle school students.

"It's more difficult to get high school students to take a backpack of food to school, so we decided to take a more dignified approach," said Wake County Commissioner Jessica Holmes. "Now, they can essentially go grocery shopping inside a pantry at their own school."

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