Feeding Students During Shutdown

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ARCHBALD, Pa. -- Not only are the 800,000 thousand federal workers being affected by the government shutdown, but so are their families.

A middle school teacher in Lackawanna County is trying to help students who may need it.

Robert Nolan graduated from the Valley View School District and has been a teacher there for more than a decade. As a social studies teacher, he and his students are discussing the government shutdown and the border wall in class. But now on day 33 of the shutdown, Nolan is seeing very real impacts among his students.

Nolan is an eighth grade social studies teacher at Valley View Middle School. His students have an essay due next week on the border wall, and after the assignments are due, the students will have a debate about the wall in class.

"I think what we fail to do sometimes is realize that the decisions that are made in Washington, D.C. have real-life consequences for people here in the commonwealth, here in this local community," Nolan said.

But putting politics aside, Nolan is now reaching out to parents in the community, asking for donations so he can help any student who may be hungry because of the government shutdown.

"'Cougar Pride' is just this belief that we have, that when we act together, nothing is impossible. As a community, when we come together, we're at our strongest. We're at our greatest," said Nolan.

"It's an awesome community," said Maura Mileski of Archbald. "They're always there for each other whenever anyone is in need."

School officials say there are students in the Valley View School District who have parents who aren't getting paid right now because of the shutdown.

"I don't know many people who can go one or two paychecks or missing paychecks without struggling, and I think that's what we're starting to see," Nolan said.

Folks around town say they aren't surprised it's Mr. Nolan who is stepping up to help. Nolan's initial Facebook post asking for donations has hundreds of likes and shares.

"I don't even think I know that many people on Facebook, so it's impressive to me and emblematic of the community that so many people felt the need to share it and comment," said Nolan.

Nolan says he will buy lunch for any student who is hungry, or just give them a snack. He says it's something any passionate teacher would do.

"Being around children and helping them and making a difference in their lives. I think I'm just the mouthpiece at this point for any teacher in any school willing to help any student in need," he added.

Nolan says people have already dropped items off both at his home and at the school. He is looking for food, snacks, water, or anything else he can give a student during the day if they are hungry.

You can email Mr. Nolan here.

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