During the opening of the 30th MUST Ministries school food pantry, President and CEO Dr. Dwight “Ike” Reighard recounted a story he heard from a Cobb principal. The elementary principal told him about a child who came up to her one morning asking for food. The little girl hadn’t had breakfast, and she confessed to not having had dinner either. “Why?” her principal asked. “Because it wasn’t my turn to eat,” was the little girl’s reply.
Those are the types of stories that inspired MUST Ministries and staff at Garrett Middle School to open the most recent school food pantry as part of MUST’s Save It Forward Program.
Thanks to the partnership between MUST Ministries and the Garrett school community, about 40 students and family members were able to pick out around 70 pounds of food from the shelves that lined the new school pantry.
“What I love about this is we are not just feeding the children, we are also feeding the entire family,” Dr. Reighard said. “Many of these families have transportation issues. So, it is wonderful to have something in [their] community. We are honored to be able to step in and make a difference.”
When school staff identifies families in need, the families are able to shop at the food pantry each month and take home the food that their family likes to eat versus just picking up a box of already sorted food. It gives families choices, much like shopping at a grocery store. Among some of the food choices included large pork shoulders for Thanksgiving. There are also school supplies, clothes, and toiletry items available for the families in need.
Although this school food pantry is located in Garrett Middle School, the food pantry is open to families outside of the specific school community too. For example, families from nearby schools without pantries also have access to the food they need.
Garrett’s food pantry is one three food pantries that are funded in part by a grant to MUST Ministries from the United Way. The estimated $50,000 grant will also help start food pantries at Brumby Elementary School, slated to open on November 1, and Fair Oaks Elementary School.
“Wherever we find a pocket of need is where we want to go first to be able to make a difference,” added Dr. Reighard. “Our mission at MUST Ministries is to serve our neighbors in need, and sometimes our neighbors come in tinier sizes.”