Food Pantry benefits students

Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Cooperation between Cherokee School and Hy-Vee benefits the Braves Food Pantry recently organized. Participants include, left to right, Melinda Hammen-Seasons Youth Services worker, Phil Grout-Hy-Vee Store Director, Jenn Nixon-TAP Coordinator.
Photo contributed

A team of educators have partnered with Hy-Vee to create the Braves Food Pantry to help better serve our student population.

Cherokee Community School District has a 40% free and reduced population for school lunch and the high school’s percentage is 34%.    WHS Principal Wade Riley brought the idea of a food pantry to Matt Hoskinson-WHS Success Coach, Melinda Hammen-Seasons Youth Services Worker, Jolleen Heater-High School Guidance Counselor, Jenn Nixon-WHS TAP Coordinator, and Dawn Henke-STAR. The goal of the pantry is to furnish resources to meet the needs of our students to enhance their academic, behavioral, and cognitive development. 

The pantry has already come full circle from an idea in August to serving over a dozen students in the first week of operation. Hy-Vee Store Director Phil Grout has been extremely generous to give the pantry an initial donation and will continue to help supplement the pantry throughout the school year with various items. 

For the upcoming homecoming week, there will be a food drive between the individual classes to add additional items to the pantry. Additionally, community members who are coming to watch the Powderpuff volleyball matches with the boys, or the Powderpuff football game with the girls, are asked to bring a donation for the food pantry of spaghetti or alfredo sauce, peanut butter or jelly, granola bars, or a boxed meal to help out. 

Not only is this helping out our students but is also developing job skills for IEP students. Other items in the pantry include macaroni and cheese, noodles, canned fruit and vegetables, soups, crackers, pancake mix, juice, and cereal to name a few. Jenn Nixon, TAP coordinator at WHS, is teaching special education students work skills of keeping inventory, checking expiration dates, sorting, stacking and shelving product, facing the products, and picking orders for students to take home when they are placed.  Skills learned by these students will hopefully lead to employment with our local grocery stores in the future. The response by the students working in the food pantry and those that have been receiving items has been very positive. If you would like your student to receive resources from the pantry or would like to donate to the pantry please call the WHS office at 712-225-6755 and direct questions or requests to Matt, Melinda, Jenn, Jolleen, or Dawn.

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