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Lyman Moore Students Establishing School Food Pantry

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Lyman Moore Students Establishing School Food Pantry
Posted on 10/29/2014

After studying about the detrimental effects of poverty and food insecurity, students at Lyman Moore Middle School have decided to make a difference: They’re starting a food pantry at their school.

To kick off the event, Student Council members have been delivering informational flyers to community members in the North Deering neighborhood around the school, located at 171 Auburn Street.

 The flyers invite the neighbors to leave food and hygiene products on the curb as donations this Friday morning, Oct. 31.

That morning (weather permitting) Lyman Moore students will walk the route to promote personal fitness and to collect donations.

Each student also has a goal to gather two $1 sponsorships for the pantry. If each of the school’s approximately 500 students hits his or her goal, the pantry will start off with more than $1,000 in food and hygiene products to benefit the community.

The goal is to keep the pantry small and sustainable, according to Caroline Foster, 6th grade social studies teacher.

She said students will be able to discreetly access the pantry for their families through the guidance of school counselors and social workers.

Foster explained that the food pantry stems from a project that seventh graders did last year, in which they identified a health problem in the community, researched ways that people have solved similar problems around the world, and came up with an action plan to help either raise awareness or mitigate the problem.

Among some “fantastic projects,” Foster said, was one in which one girl worked with a partner to research food insecurity in Portland and then spearheaded a food drive for the Preble Street Resource Center in Portland. This year, as an eighth-grader, that same student came up with the school food pantry idea, Foster said.

About 80 kids in her social studies class each year engage in community service, she said, so another student who was volunteering at a food pantry jumped on board with the girl to get involved.

Teachers also got into the act, Foster said, starting a Community Outreach Committee this year.

“Our goal is to get our kids to build relationships in the community while feeling purposeful and connected,” she said. “We also want them to see how they can access the critical thinking and problem solving skills that they're learning in order to make their and their neighbors' lives better.”

Community participation via support or donations for the new school food pantry is welcomed, Foster said.