Hazelwood District Launches New ‘Food For Thought’ Food Pantry

The Hazelwood PTA Council, Hazelwood National Education Association (HNEA), and the Hazelwood School District launched the new Food For Thought program this week, a food pantry for students who are in need. This program will provide students who lack access to nutritious food at home with a reliable source of food for evenings, weekends, and other breaks from school.

The Food For Thought program officially began on Monday, Jan.  20, which coincided with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Non-perishable food items to stock the “Food For Thought” program could be  purchased and donated at the Shop N Save, 175 Flower Valley Shopping Center.

“I am pleased to see the Hazelwood PTA Council, HNEA, school district and our community to come together to address this important issue,” said Supt. Grayling Tobias, “Across the nation, the number of students who receive free or reduced lunch continues to grow in this challenging economy. While these children can depend on lunch at school, they often go home at night and on the weekends to empty cupboards and must rely on snacks, eat at a friend’s home or unable to eat at all. The Food for Thought program aligns with HSD’s No. 1 goal to increase student achievement. Helping to provide nutritious meals for our students away from school demonstrates that we will do what we can to help our children to succeed.”

According to the 2013 Missouri Hunger Atlas, there has been a general increase in the amount of “food insecure” Missourians. Food insecure describes people who must reduce food intake and/or skip meals due to limited financial resources.

“Many students come to school hungry each day,” said Angie Carey, Missouri PTA regional director and Hazelwood School District PTA Council board director.  “We are extremely excited to partner with NEA, the District, Shop N Save, and the community as a whole. Their generosity allows us to provide support to families dealing with hunger issues. “

“The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President Obama’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. We could not have selected a more fitting day to launch this Food For Thought initiative, a program which addresses the basic needs of our children,” said Carey.

The Food For Thought pantries will be housed at the three HSD high school sites: Hazelwood Central, Hazelwood East and Hazelwood West, but will be used to support all HSD students who are in need. For the program to be sustainable, continued support from the Hazelwood PTA Council, HNEA, HSD and the entire community will be needed, it was pointed out.


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