At the CREC Academy of Science and Innovation, not only can students enjoy free and discounted breakfast, lunch and dinner, but they now also have access to food outside school hours.
The New Britain school opened the doors to its first pantry on Friday, a place for pupils in grades six to 12 when they need it.
“A lot of kids need help, and they’re really not comfortable talking about it,” said CREC Academy junior Dezarae.
It is a problem that many still suffer in silence. According to Feeding America, one in 10 people in Connecticut suffer from food insecurity.
“The good news is things aren’t as bad as they were at the height of the pandemic. The bad news is things aren’t back to where they were before the pandemic,” Jason Jakubowski said. , President and CEO of Connecticut Foodshare. “We’re coming out of the summer months, and the summer months are absolutely the most difficult time of year for kids facing food insecurity.”
To solve this problem, Elizabeth Wilson, family community engagement specialist at CREC Academy, contacted Stop & Shop.
“What we were seeing, especially during the holidays, were families asking mostly for food rather than gifts in many spaces because the break was going to be long and they didn’t have access to it, so I wanted to find something more durable,” Wilson said.
Thanks to a $5,000 grant from the grocery chain, the New Britain school now houses shelves full of pantry items and perishables, including produce and meat. It is also one of 140 Stop & Shop school pantries at schools, colleges and universities in Northern New England.
“Once we get a recommendation, we’ll contact the student, we’ll contact their family, and I’m so excited to say that after this groundbreaking event, we’re actually going to be serving our first family,” Wilson said.
Thanks to a donation from Stop & Shop, a new program will provide food to needy New Britain students and their families.
The newly created CREC Academy Pantry is designed to make a huge impact in the community, not only helping the students, but also the student’s family.
“We also look at how many students and families the pantry is able to serve, because often it’s not just the student who is food insecure, it’s the whole family at home” , said Maura O’Brien, head of external communications for Stop & Shop. .
Many students say they are proud to see their school provide this resource.
“Personally, I’m lucky to have food stamps and stuff like that, but my school provides it to me, so I think it’s very beneficial for me as well,” Dezarae said.
“It’s great to see that they are finally taking initiatives for children, for food, for their homes, to give to the community,” said CREC Academy senior Enialex Castaner.