The United Way needs your help to make sure Trumbull County’s youngest residents don’t go hungry this holiday season.
Over the past year, more than 10,000 students have visited food pantries in the Warren City Schools. The pantry at Willard Elementary is a very busy place.
“It’s kind of an open-door policy,” Michelle Chiaro said. “Every day, if a child needs it, or a teacher sees that a child needs something for that day or if a parent calls and says, ‘Please let them go to the pantry,’ they come in. Probably 35 students a day come through the pantry.”
Chiaro has worked at the schools for over 20 years. She said having food available for kids to eat outside of school hours makes a big difference.
“They come to school, they are worried about how they gonna eat, if they are gonna have food, if they are going to be warm, all those kind of things. So we want to make sure that we eliminate those barriers so they can come to school and learn.”
The Willard pantry stocks all the foods kids like to eat — mac and cheese, applesauce and an entire freezer full of frozen meat and veggies.
The United Way wants to make sure those pantries stay filled.
“Having it available to them in an in-school setting has been really helpful,” said Ginny Pasha, president of the United Way of Trumbull County.
The schools discovered comfortable, fed children learn and behave better.
And with the holidays approaching, the pantries will take a hit.
“Many of the children will be loading up extra food so they do have food for Christmas break,” Pasha said. “In some cases, the food pantries at the schools are the only place they have the availability to do that.”
The last thing the schools want is empty shelves. The pantries need:
- Canned fruits, vegetables, ravioli and other pasta
- Mac and cheese
- Peanut butter
- Tuna fish
- Granola bars
- Spaghetti sauce
- Hand/body soap
- Hair brushes, combs
- Feminine hygiene products
If you want to help, you can donate money to the United Way of Trumbull County online or drop off needed food items at these locations:
- Krystie’s Dance Academy, 1543 Niles Cortland Rd. SE, Warren
- Perkins, 1953 Niles Cortland Rd. NE, Warren
- Harley Davidson, 2102 Elm Rd., Cortland