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School food pantries provide innovative solution to fight hunger

Four Fort Dodge schools now have such sites

Hunger is a persistent problem in the Fort Dodge community.

Fortunately, the means of combating hunger locally remain both resilient and varied.

The latest resource to help keep families from going hungry can be found in four Fort Dodge schools. There are now food pantries at Fort Dodge Senior High School, 819 N. 25th St.; Fort Dodge Middle School, 800 N. 32nd St.; Butler Elementary School, 945 S. 18th St.; and Duncombe Elementary School, 1620 Sixth Ave. N.

At each school there are some shelves filled with canned goods, cereal, macaroni and cheese, pasta and even a few bottles of water. Those items are donated by students, teachers, other school staffers and local residents. At Duncombe Elementary School, the Fort Dodge Study Club has provided many items for the pantry. Other groups have also contributed to the school pantries.

All the food is donated. The Fort Dodge Community School District does not spend any taxpayer dollars to stock the shelves of the pantries.

Students and their families can visit the pantries during the school day to pick up items.

There is some evidence that the pantries aren’t being used as often as they could be. For example, Duncombe Elementary School Principal Ryan Flaherty told The Messenger that five to seven families might visit his school’s pantry in a busy week.

”But we know that there’s way more than five to seven families who could benefit from it, so we’re really trying to generate interest,” he added.

We believe these pantries are an innovative response by school officials to the needs of their community. Faced with a challenge that they know is affecting their students in class and at home, they have come up with a solution.

Key to that solution are the students, families, school staffers and organizations who keep the shelves filled with food.

We thank everyone involved in this effort.

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