Purple Pantry Helps Students in Need

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. -- An old classroom at a high school in the Poconos has been transformed into a food pantry.

Shelves lined with canned goods, boxes of macaroni, and more -- this food pantry is not inside a church or shelter. It's at East Stroudsburg Area High School South.

"What we have here is nonperishable items that students can access at any time. It will mostly be on Thursday's and Friday's before the weekends, or if we know there is a winter storm coming or a cold Pocono night. Any student can have food at any time," explained community outreach chair Michael Healey.

About 54 percent of students at the high school are living at or below the poverty line. That's why educators transformed this old classroom into the Purple Pantry.

"We can support the minds, but now with the pantry, we are not only supporting the minds, but the bodies and the spirits of these kids. You can look back on your school days and say, 'You know something? I was made a better person because people cared,'" said ESASD community chair Gwen Jones.

Students will have carbs, fruits, vegetables, and meats. The nice part about this program is that students will be coming in one by one and the whole thing is completely anonymous.

A lot of the food was donated by staff on dress-down days.

Some other items came from a grocery store where teaching assistant Alice Deuerlein works. She says because dress-down days don't happen often, community support will keep the pantry going.

"Obviously, we can't do that on a regular basis. It's just too much of an undertaking, so getting the corporate sponsors, Weis Markets here in East Stroudsburg, as well as Tannersville, and other local stores are helping out," Deuerlein said.

If you'd like to donate to the Purple Pantry, items can be dropped off at East Stroudsburg High School South main office.

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