Peer Helpers stock Patriot Pantry
MADISON – Sitting in class, students don’t realize a nearby classmate at Bob Jones High School hasn’t eaten since yesterday or needs soap to shower. S2S (Student to Student) Peer Helpers have opened the Patriot Pantry to help.
S2S Peer Helpers followed a lead about a pantry at a North Carolina school. “They knew I would love the idea,” sponsor Bridget Drummond said. “We contacted the school for advice and off we went. Chapstick for the winter was a biggie at their school.”
S2S Peer Helpers asked different departments to donate different supplies. Science classes have given peanut butter, breakfast bars and snack crackers. History classes are donating deodorant, soap, hand sanitizer and lotion. Teachers also have given pop tarts, soups and macaroni and cheese.
Bob Jones “teachers did a great job getting us started. We also had school supplies donated. Hopefully, a student going into class prepared will make them more successful and less disruptive for the teacher,” Drummond said.
Asbury Community Thrift Store is assisting with clothing needs, especially coats and gloves.
How does a student qualify for food? “Anyone that’s hungry,” Drummond said. “Students have not tried to take advantage of the pantry. Many assume students without lunch money are all on ‘free lunch,’ but sometimes pride keeps families from signing up.”
Many students have “hit a temporary hard time … parents in between jobs, just needing short-time assistance. No child should be walking the halls of Bob Jones hungry,” Drummond said.
With a pack of crackers or other snack, odds are the student can perform better in classes. “We don’t make students sign their life away to get a snack or pack of paper. They don’t have to give their name if they choose not to but most do and explain what’s going on and are very appreciative,” she said.
Residents can help by donating bottled water, pre-cooked macaroni and cheese, microwave-ready soup and crackers.
S2S Peer Helpers work with all new students transitioning to Bob Jones, tutor elementary students, present anti-drug programs at elementary schools and raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.