“Sometimes, people just need help”.
This is A. Montoya school counselor, Sarah’s simple philosophy.
Sarah’s office at A. Montoya is frequented by students for a myriad of reasons that are complicated and often difficult to “fix”. However, one recurring issue, she realized in August, could be greatly helped in a simple way…
Sometimes, the cry, “I’m HUUNNGRY” emanates from a little one who just wants a snack or a distraction or a reason to get out of doing math for a bit. However, the teachers and staff at schools like A. Montoya have to take this cry more seriously than others. Over half of their students live at or below the poverty line. Some were taken from their homes the night before and placed with a foster family in the wee hours of the morning. Several don’t know who will be home to cook dinner tonight, as no one was home till late last night. A surprising number are homeless. Many of these children go home with food bags for the weekend, but the food goes quickly if they have siblings; and by Sunday, there’s not much left.
Counselor Sarah wondered if she could not only give the kids a snack to make it through the day, but give them some security…some assurance that they’d be fed even if dinner or breakfast didn’t come. She talked with the Shine coordinator at her school, and they hatched a plan….
I give you: A. Montoya’s Student Food Pantry.
Here, Sarah can take a student whose meals are often unpredictable and pack their backpack with a few meals for “just in case”. These are things the students can open and, if they have a microwave, can warm up for themselves. Items like tuna, applesauce, oatmeal, peanut butter, apples, macaroni and cheese, and beef stew fit nicely into a backpack and make quick work of a dinner or breakfast that may have otherwise been skipped. There’s even a stock of gluten-free items that is kept separate from the rest.
Within the first few weeks of its operation, Sarah was able to use the Student Food Pantry to serve several families in crisis situations with the nutritious food that A. Montoya’s Shine partner, Mountain Christian Church, had provided. MCC will sustain the Student Food Pantry throughout the school year until the day comes when it is no longer needed.
Sarah is right…sometimes, people just need help. A kid that is not worried about whether he will have dinner tonight is a kid who is more ready and able to learn. He is one that sleeps more soundly, knowing that there will be breakfast in the morning. Though he may have several other issues that require complex answers, this one can be answered simply. He just needs food.
Shine is honored to partner with our schools’ incredible staff members who, like Sarah, are seeking solutions for their students every single day. We believe that the Church is uniquely resourced to address the needs of our schools. We are grateful for the privilege to serve and be a part of true transformation in Albuquerque.
Dream with us….
Imagine a city in which every kid has access to nutritious food for every meal.