By Erica Moore
WCS Communications Director
The Weakley County Schools Food Pantry is again open for the school year to provide food at no charge for families of students and staff who need it.
Established in 2020 as an expansion of the Backpack Program, the Pantry is open during the school year to ensure that food is on the table for the families of students and staff. The food is supplied through Second Harvest Food Bank, and any family with children in school is eligible to receive food.
Weakley County Coordinated School Health Director Bethany Allen explained that the Pantry and the Backpack Program are separate entities that work together for the same cause.
“While the goal of the Backpack Program is to provide hungry children with easy-to-open foods that can be prepared without the help of a parent, the purpose of the Pantry is to offer ingredients for complete meals for families and requires more preparation. Both programs are a lifeline to assist families who face food insecurity,” said Allen.
The Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee currently delivers a shipment of food each month during the school year. Common items received include pasta, tomato sauce, rice, oats, cereal bars, canned vegetables and fruit, and canned chicken and tuna.
Kathy Dodson, Coordinated School Health Assistant, noted that availability is open to staff families as well as student families.
“There are many households in our communities that operate on a single income. It’s unfortunate that some households face the choice between paying the electric bill or buying groceries. This program is in place to help alleviate some of that worry for the families of our students and staff,” said Dodson.
Recipients’ names are kept confidential, but the number of people who live in the household is needed to pack an appropriate amount of food.
The Coordinated School Health team aims to make it easy to get food in the hands of the people who need it.
“Our goal is to remind parents that this resource is available for them. We know schedules don’t always allow people to travel to our location during the day. We want to make it easier by delivering food directly to the school in their community to pick up,” said Allen. “Food can be picked up with children in the car line, or we can work with parents to send some lighter items home with children on the school bus if needed. It’s important that the process is easy for families.”
Food can also be picked up Monday through Friday from 8AM-4PM inside the Weakley County Personal Development Center at 8250 Highway 22 in Dresden. For assistance or more information, reach out to Coordinated School Health at (731) 364-9945.