Hasty ES Fine Arts Academy Celebrates Food Pantry Partnership with MUST Cherokee
Category : CCSD
Hasty Elementary School Fine Arts Academy in Canton on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017 welcomed community leaders to cut the ribbon on its new food pantry to be stocked with support from MUST Ministries.
It’s the first partnership of its kind in the Cherokee County School District for the nonprofit organization, which operates 26 such school-based pantries in Cobb County. Hasty was selected as the pilot location due to the Title I school’s need –80% of the school’s 895 students qualify for free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch, and its pre-existing food pantry program.
“Our families and community need this very much,” Principal Dr. Rodney Larrotta said, as he thanked MUST and its supporters at the event.
Hasty, like many schools throughout CCSD, already operated its own small food pantry to help students in need over weekends and school breaks. Through the new partnership with MUST Cherokee, Hasty’s pantry will receive supplies from the nonprofit and its supporters that, beginning this week, will provide 45 families from the school with 75 pounds of food and hygiene supplies weekly… with hopes to double and then triple the number served as soon as support allows.
“Our goal is to eliminate hunger for at-risk students in our schools. A pantry like this can help to make that difference,” MUST Ministries President & CEO Dr. Dwight “Ike” Reighard said of the expanded pantry, which will allow students and their families to choose the food items they like best, rather than receiving a pre-selected box of staples.
The converted supply room includes shelves of canned and boxed foods, and a refrigerator to complement those items with fresh ingredients; the pantry also offers health and hygiene projects, which bridges a gap created by the inability to use government assistance food allowances for such products.
“We see our mission as serving the whole child,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower, who was joined at the event by School Board Chair Kyla Cromer and CCSD staff who coordinate student services and partnerships. “Working with a valued community partner like MUST to ensure children are focused on their lessons, rather than a rumbling stomach or fears of a weekend without food, is an important way to accomplish this. We greatly appreciate MUST, the school staff who operate the pantry, and everyone who supports Hasty and its students.”
The food pantry will be stocked with donations, many of which will be collected through MUST’s Save it Forward program, which provides volunteers with shopping lists and associated store coupons to purchase needed items at considerable discounts. More information is available online or by calling MUST at 770-427-9862.