“Before my parents told me that there are people who needed food, I thought everyone in the world was just fine, that we all had homes, we all had food, and no one was hungry,” revealed Aiden, a Brumby Elementary School fourth grader.
At the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Pantry Pals welcomed a crowd of community members that supported the school in the quest to open a food pantry. The donation center is the 31st school pantry sponsored by MUST Ministries. The local YMCA and the Rotary Club of East Cobb also played roles in providing for Brumby families in need through the food pantry.
“It’s a community effort, and that’s what makes it so wonderful,” said Dr. Dwight “Ike” Reighard, president and CEO of MUST Ministries.
Brumby Principal Dr. Amanda Richie echoed Dr. Reighard.
In the first two months, school staff assisted 113 students and family members. They provided about 1,700 pounds of food and toiletries. Hurricane Michael evacuees living in Cobb were among those that were helped.
Tarryn, a fourth grader and member of the Pantry Pals, thinks the food pantry is an important way to help the community.
“We want to make sure everyone in our community gets good food and clean water,” Tarryn said.
When Aiden heard Dr. Reighard share the story at the ribbon cutting about a Cobb student who went to her principal to ask for food because she hadn’t eaten since the day before, he began to understand the impact of the food pantry on kids, kids just like him.
Aiden sometimes volunteers with his dad at a homeless shelter. Seeing his dad wake up at 4:00 a.m. to go feed people at the shelter has inspired Aiden to want to do more for those in need within the Brumby community.
“What I don’t like [about the food pantry is it] is only open when school is open,” Aiden explained. “When school isn’t open, like Christmas, Thanksgiving, and summer break, they’re still going to be hungry. What are we going to do about it then?”
Aiden would like to see the food pantry expanded so those in need can access an outside version when school is not in session.
It’s ideas like that that made Dr. Reighard tease Aiden at the ribbon cutting ceremony about Aiden taking over his leadership position at MUST Ministries. Aiden turned him down, recognizing that running an organization like MUST was a little too much responsibility for him right now.
“I still have school. I’m only nine years old,” Aiden protested.
Aiden and his pantry pals may not be ready to run a large community organization, yet, but they are ready to serve those in need.