School pantry feeds students who would otherwise go hungry - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

School pantry feeds students who would otherwise go hungry at home

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A lot of recent attention has been paid to what students are eating in their school cafeterias, but some say what's worse is what some are not eating when they're away from school - nothing.

Experts estimate one out of every four children will go hungry this weekend, particularly because they won't be eating a meal at school.

That is why Second Harvest Food Bank has started a new program to take the food pantry to the kids who need it most.

"They go to bed every night wondering if they're going to have food on the table tomorrow," said Tasha Kennard, with Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee.

An estimated 400,000 children in Tennessee struggle with hunger away from school, which is something administrators at John Early Museum Magnet Middle School have noticed.

"We had noticed one student in particular save his afternoon lunch, and he was attempting to take it home with him for his supper that evening," said Katie Kendall, teacher at John Early Middle.

School officials and Second Harvest began brainstorming to come up with a solution, and they then renovated a school closet to become the city's first satellite school food pantry.

The pantry includes ingredients to create a healthy meal at home, including rice, pasta and sauces.

Kendall said since the pantry opened in March, 35 students and their families have been served by the school food pantry, but it's all very discrete.

"If we do need to send food home with that child on a particular day, they leave school with a backpack rather than a see-through plastic bag. And it's worked very well," she said.

The main goal is to find those people who are hungry but may be too embarrassed to come ask for help.

Second Harvest hopes to have a half-dozen school food pantries by the time fall classes start in September.

An event Saturday aims to help end hunger. To participate, just place a bag of canned items by your mailbox, and someone from the Postal Service will pick it up.

For more information, visit: http://www.helpstampouthunger.com/.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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