School pantries remain open to help make up for the lack of summer meals | Education

Some area schools are keeping their community pantries open this summer to help families feed their children while school is closed.

“We know that with food prices rising it is difficult to feed teenagers in particular,” said Linda Lemmons, counselor at Berryhill Secondary School.

In conjunction with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Berryhill Public Schools has a food pantry available for families of high school students. Any Berryhill Middle or High School family can make a confidential request to Lemmons or another advisor to purchase the pantry or receive a box of long-life items via contactless transfer.

According to data released in May by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, national grocery prices rose an average of 10.8% for the year, with some items seeing higher price spikes.

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Although the Berryhill pantry hasn’t seen a spike in demand since classes ended in late May, Lemmons said she and her colleagues had been actively alerting families that the option was available through summer five. days a week.

“We made it a point to get this information to families between inflation and rising gas prices,” she said.

Across Tulsa, Union’s Rosa Parks Elementary School Pantry also remains stocked for families.

Danielle Brinlee, coordinator of Rosa Parks Community School, said the school pantry started four years ago with a Bedlam-themed canned food drive for the regional food bank. After realizing that several Rosa Parks families could benefit from these on-site resources, the food drive was turned inward, with donations serving the school community instead.

School teachers are often the first point of contact for a family to be referred to the pantry, Brinlee said. However, with classes over for the summer, she has been actively reaching out to families who may not be aware of the school’s canned food stash.

“We’re open year-round,” Brinlee said. “Families came to shop during the last week of classes. We have also called specific families to make sure they know we are available this summer.

Sam D. Gomez