Students and families in the Hope Public Schools District that rely upon federally-backed assistance will be severely affected should a federal government closure last more than a month. That assessment has prompted HPSD administration to create a backstop for students through a districtwide food pantry program.
HPSD Superintendent Dr. Bobby Hart announced the program in a Jan. 23 letter to local business and community leaders in light of the current federal government closure.
“The loss of resources will result in a continuance of the scarcity of food that already exists in many homes,” Dr. Hart said. “Hope Public Schools is asking for your help in developing a food pantry that will allow students to select food items that may be the only opportunity they have for food for an evening.”
Hart said that food pantries will be established at each of the five main campuses of the HPSD at Clinton Primary School, Beryl Henry Elementary School, Yerger Middle School, Hope Academy of Public Service, and Hope High School.
“You can assist by making a donation of non-perishable food items or a monetary donation,” Hart said.
Hart said he will take the program’s appeal to local civic clubs, churches and businesses.
Campus food pantries will provide distributions on a scheduled basis; will be inventoried on a regular basis; and, will have a single point of contact for each campus to receive donations and distribute food.
Hart said the only qualification to receive items from the food pantry is that a student be enrolled in the Hope Public Schools.
“This is not intended to compete with any other food pantry or charitable effort,” he said. “It is simply another step to aid our students.”
Recommended items for donation include Pop Tarts, individually-packaged peanut butter crackers, individual serving cans of Vienna sausage,individually-packaged dry cereals, individually-packaged trail mix, individually-packaged cheese crackers, individually-packaged pre-prepared tuna servings, individually-packaged fruit cup, and individually-packaged noodle cup.
Non-perishable items that are single-serving portions in easily opened packaging are recommended for donation.
“While we hope the shutdown will end soon, we hope to continue our pantry for years to come as we understand that the need exists regardless of the status of our government,” Hart said.