What started as the development of a school wellness policy for the West Washington School Corporation evolved to include a client choice pantry for students and families. Community Wellness Coordinator Katelyn Kutemeier and School Nurse Dawn Woods collaborated on the project that has already helped several families with a proposed impact of reaching 800 families.
When the wellness policy was presented to the wellness committee the pantry idea was also discussed. Those on the committee felt there was a need, having documented that food insecurity is an issue for many students – in fact the school corporation has a free and reduced lunch rate of over 50%. The school had adopted a backpack program for elementary students, but there were no resources for middle school and high school students to utilize until the pantry opened earlier this school year.
The pantry is set up in a private location in the same building that houses all three schools. To access the pantry, a student can go to the office or they can reach a teacher or staff member who will take them to get items. Parents are also allowed to call the school and get items for their family.
Food in the pantry is supplied by local churches and the Fredericksburg Lions Club who donate items on a regular basis, and a “healthy donation list guideline” encourages the donation of healthier foods from anyone who would like to participate.