Centennial Fights Against Hunger
Roni Adar and Jewel Goodly
Nutrition and education go hand in hand. “Students who are well-nourished are better prepared to learn and participate in school activities,” according to the Eastern Illinois Food Bank. This year, for the first time, Centennial is starting the School Pantry program. The School Pantry program is sponsored by the Eastern Illinois Food Bank. Students and families that are struggling will be able to get the food they need once a month, free of charge, at Centennial. The food pantry respects the privacy of its students and will therefore allow them to remain anonymous. Parents and students will not have to worry about confidentiality because everything will be very discreet.
Photos by Jewel Goodly of Centennial students unloading food to be distributed in the pantry.
In order to participate, parents must first sign a permission form. On specific days of the month, those students will be notified from the Food Pantry coordinators about when they can come in and “shop”. Centennial will provide participants with baggage of some sort in order to ensure the individual’s privacy. Parents are able to come and “shop” during those days as well. The food that will be available includes: canned goods, boxed items, juice, peanut butter, granola bars, etc. There will also be healthier food options such as: produce dairy, nonperishable fruits and vegetables, grains, and meats. However, the Food Pantry will also provide students with household items like cleaning products, shampoo, toothpaste, and other personal hygiene products.
The Food Pantry will be open twice a month (participants shop once a month) during school hours, beginning in October.
“Anyone can be eligible. Everyone can hit hard times at different times. Every family can struggle with hard times no matter who they are and where they live,” commented Ondine Gross, Centennial’s Psychologist and Food Pantry Sponsor. The ultimate purpose of the Food Pantry is to alleviate hunger among Centennial students and their families.
If you or someone you know is interested they can contact Mrs. Gross, Principal Johnson, Mr. Neitzel, the Associate Principal, or any secretary, teacher, counselor, or assistant principal.