RIFA launches new food pantry program at local school

JACKSON, Tenn. — A new food pantry keeps needy kids from going hungry over the weekend. It is a new pilot program in Jackson-Madison County sponsored by the Regional Inter-Faith Association.

foodpantryWorkers stocked shelves Wednesday at RIFA in Jackson. The donated food there helps fill a new food pantry at Jackson Careers and Technology School.

“Unfortunately, a lot of our students go home over the weekend and they don’t have food to eat,” JCT school counselor Rhonda Heard said.

Heard said the new pantry provides food for kids who do not have anything to eat over the weekend. “The food is kid friendly,” she said. “It’s easy to open. It’s safe.”

Students get several items, everything from fruit and vegetables to pasta and soup.

RIFA said funding for the food pantry comes from donations.

RIFA launched the food pantry this year after Vision 2020 changes. Jackson Careers and Technology shifted from an elementary school to a campus that now houses fourth through eighth graders. “We know from research that after about the fourth or fifth grade kids are embarrassed to get snack backpacks,” RIFA volunteer coordinator Dan Ward said.

The pantry allows students to get food more discreetly. They can come in, pick it up, and other kids do not have to know.

“If these kids can have food over the weekend and they come to school, they’re ready to learn,” Heard said.

Ward said if the pantry program is successful they plan to put it in other schools as well.

Heard said she expects about 75 to 100 students at Jackson Careers and Technology to get food from the pantry.

Categories: Local News, News, Video