USD 379 Providing Free Essentials to Students Through School Pantries

By Quinn O’Hara

Not having access to the proper necessities at home, such as toiletries and food, can negatively impact a student’s ability to learn or be successful in school.

USD 379 Schools are addressing this problem by providing those same necessities through school pantries. Jaclyn Pfizenmaier, USD 379’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction, said students can access food, toiletries, and school supplies items at school through the pantries for free at any time, no questions asked.

Pfizenmaier said the exact contents of the pantries differ by school and age group. She also believes that the pantries have seen a significant rise in usage over the past five years.

The items within each pantry come from community donations. Local organizations will sometimes donate items to the district to be distributed to students through the pantries. One such example is the Clay Center Elks Lodge #2253, who donates all unclaimed supplies from their yearly Back-To-School-Fair to the district. Pfizenmaier said she’s even had folks drop off free body wash and toiletries samples they had gathered from hotels on vacation to be stocked in the pantries.

Regardless of a student’s situation, Pfizenmaier said that the items are always available to them so that they can have whatever they need when they need it.

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