In response to the ongoing problem of hunger in the community, Keene Elementary School recently opened a food pantry to help families in the Christina School District.

Keene secretary Diannia Miller came up with the idea after watching a news program about a teacher working to provide food for people. She felt her school could do something similar.

“I was thinking about all the things that were going on with the pandemic and people not having enough food and not having enough money,” Miller said.

The school already had a relationship with the Food Bank of Delaware through the backpack program, which provides food for students in need to take home every Friday.

Amanda Cousin, Keene’s family crisis therapist, communicated with the Food Bank to gain its approval for the pantry, and the school partnered with the Harry K. Foundation for additional support.

“Parents are already coming here to drop off their kids and pick up their kids,” Assistant Principal Heather Buchanan said. “They’re comfortable with the school, and it gives us the ability when we see families in need to reach out to say, ‘We have this resource, and it’s right here.’”

Miller said she hopes the pantry can eventually add a freezer to store meat, along with more cabinets for non-perishable items. Miller said the pantry can provide 30 pounds of food to a family along with five pounds of toiletries.

Stocked by the Food Bank, the food pantry includes many staples, such as pasta, canned proteins, drinks that doesn’t need to be refrigerated and tomato sauce.

Miller said the pantry will remain in operation even after the pandemic is over.

“I know the country is trying to get back to a sense of normal, but hunger will never go away,” Miller said.

The pantry is accepting donations of non-perishable items from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. During the summer, hours will change to Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information or to donate, should contact Miller or Cousin at {span}302-454-2018. {/span}

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