SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Savannah-Chatham County Public School System and America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia kicked off their new partnership Tuesday to create food pantries at local schools for families in need.
Second Harvest will furnish and maintain food pantries at 23 schools, including 12 elementary schools, five middle schools, six high schools and alternative sites as well.
“A woman came in one afternoon at 3 o’clock,” Second Harvest Executive Director Mary Jane Crouch said. “She was in tears and she said ‘I don’t need food for myself, but I need food for my children. I give them glasses of water at night so their stomachs don’t wake them up.'”
Crouch added: “From that moment forward, I knew that hunger is hidden here.”
Each box will provide three meals for a family. They contain non-perishable, nutritious items like rice, canned vegetables, protein bars and spaghetti.
“On a day-to-day basis, our guidance counselors, our social workers, our teachers, as well as our principals engage with our children,” Associate SCCPSS Superintendent Vallerie Cave said. “So they will be the first point of contact in terms of relaying the information.”
Cave explained that every site has a coordinator who will retrieve and distribute food.
“We have a very good process set up so we are able to meet the needs of all of the families,” she said.
Local neighbors who aren’t associated with the school system will also have the opportunity access to the pantries.
After this pilot program is established, their goal is to have a food bank at every school in Chatham County.
“The one thing we want children to have is a full tummy so they can think well and they can prepare well for their futures,” SCCPSS Superintendent Dr. Ann Levett said. “I’m happy that we’ll be able to serve our children, I’m happy that we’ll be able to serve our families and I’m happy that we’ll be able to serve our neighbors.”
“Food insecurity is a very real concern for so many of our students and families,” Levett, added. “The primary goal of these food pantries is to address the nutritional needs of students and fill that gap when possible. Providing this service goes to the very heart of caring for our students. This food pantry will serve our school families as well as families near the school. This is what caring for our community means.”
Food pantries will be available at the following schools:
- Andrea B Williams Elementary School
- Myers Middle School
- School of Liberal Studies@ Savannah High School
- Mercer Middle School
- Shuman Middle School
- Garden City Elementary School
- Juliette Low Elementary School
- DeRenne Middle School
- Port Wentworth Elementary School
- May Howard Elementary School
- Pooler Elementary School
- JG Smith Elementary School
- Windsor Forest Elementary School
- Beach High School
- Groves High School
- Johnson High School
- New Hampstead High School
- Windsor Forest High School
- Southwest Middle School
- West Chatham Middle School
- Building Bridges High
- Building Bridges Middle
- Coastal Comprehensive Academy