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AMS Food Pantry already helping hungry students

January 25, 2018
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

For many years, AMS staff wanted to do something for the kids who were hungry, but there just wasn't enough funding. This past October, that all changed and the school now houses the AMS Food Pantry.

The AMS Food Pantry is located in a room near the cafeteria and it permits students to grab a few items to help out their family as they leave school for the day or weekend.

The credit for the pantry goes to counselor John Hudson and STEM teacher Doug Eisenbraun. They got the project started after seeing the need among the school community, and acknowledging that everyone needs a little help sometime.

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier

AMS teachers Barb Tomic and Angela Yohman pose in front of the stocked shelves at the AMS Food Pantry, which kicked off back in October. The pantry has enabled students from needy families to not go hungry.

"Last year with teacher donations we were able to do a backpack program," said AMS Principal Ben Baldner. "This year, thanks to a generous donation, we were able to partner with Second Harvest Food Bank."

He said back in October, the pantry was started through a non-perishable food drive. Students at AMS brought in over 800 items to help stock the shelves.

"Now we order food through Second Harvest," Hudson said.

He said announcements are made informing students the pantry will be open between 2:25 to 2:45 p.m. each school day. Since the first announcement, the pantry has seen on average 10 to 15 students each school day.

"Some have become regulars," said teacher Barb Tomic. "Some come every day and they know what their family needs."

Tomis and teacher Angela Yohman staff the pantry and help the kids select good choices. Most of the food is ready to prepare, but some, like mac and cheese, requires other ingredients. Yohman and Tomis are able to provide that support to ensure the food is eaten.

Besides the food items, the pantry also has one shelf area for personal hygiene items. Some kids didn't have a toothbrush or tooth aste, but now they can get it.

Baldner and Hudson said the AMS Food Pantry is always open to donations of food and personal hygiene items. He said monetary donations are also welcomed as the pantry does buy some food to keep stocked.

Austintown Rotary gave the pantry a check for $250 at the January Rotary meeting. Baldner said the money will be used to purchase food items from Second Harvest. He also said the AMS Food Pantry is a partner with Second Harvest and donations can be made to Second Harvest for the AMS account.

Hudson said he does foresee continuing the food drive for the pantry and making it an annual event.

Baldner said items for the pantry can be dropped off at AMS during normal school hours and monetary donations can be dropped off or made to the Second Harvest AMS account.

The AMS Food Pantry is meeting a need and is helping ensure no Austintown student goes hungry.

Baldner said the pantry is also open for Fitch students to come back and select some food.



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