The sixth grade class at South Nodaway created a school-wide food pantry in time to send home food to families for Easter.
Every year, South Nodaway Counselor Nick Wray helps the sixth grade class come up with a service project for the year. In the past, the class has volunteered with the New Nodaway Humane Society, sent care packages to soldiers and purchased water filtration systems for countries in Africa.
This year, the class noticed there was a need in their school for food. The students were aware that other students in the school and their families did not have enough food to eat or gas to drive to the grocery store and they were hungry.
“We were told some people in our community did not have enough money to buy food so we wanted to help out,” sixth grader Jessica Davis said.
They hosted a food drive within the school and collected more than 650 cans of food in one week. The students and administration worked to get the food distributed before spring break.
“This community just makes you want to give back. The kids feel that. Since (principal) Mrs. Bauman came, it has always been the ‘Longhorn way.’ We take care of each other in the school and in the community,” Wray stated.
Administrators plan to keep the food pantry going next year and are making plans to expand the space. Staff also plans to open the food pantry during the summer months. They hope to create a website submission form so families may register for the service online. Families can also register in person at the school. Family privacy will be protected.
“I’m so proud of them. Here we have the Longhorn way – be respectful, be responsible. We take it seriously. We are a family and we take care of each other; it’s our culture,” South Nodaway Principal Darbi Bauman stated.
Students will be hosting several food drives throughout the next school year as well as accepting donations from the community.
According to the Missouri Community Action Network, Missouri is the twelfth most food insecure state in the United States.
In Nodaway County, 31 percent of the population qualifies for food stamp programs, 53 percent of children under the age of five qualify for the WIC program and 82.5 percent of the county qualifies and participates in the national school lunch program, all of which are higher percentages than the state averages.
Overall, 24.5 percent of children under the age of 18 in Nodaway County live below the poverty line which is above the state average of 21 percent.
“I was so proud when our sixth graders decided there was a need in our community. They watch out for each other and they do it respectfully and are so considerate,” Bauman said.