For many kids who utilize Gloucester Public Schools’ Free and Reduced Lunch Program, food insecurity exists beyond the walls of Gloucester High. However, the school’s new project hopes to provide extra support to students who may need it at home.
Today, Friday, December 13th, Gloucester High School launched its latest initiative: The Free Food Locker. In collaboration with the Open Door Food Pantry, Gloucester High School’s Health Center (a member of Addison Gilbert Hospital/Beth Israel Lahey Health), has made this program available to all students who already qualify for Free and Reduced Lunch. The “Food Locker” is meant to offer non-perishables for students to bring home to their families, not to feed the students during school.
“We are very grateful for the unwavering support of this project from: GHS Principal – James Cook, our manager at Beth Israel Lahey – Cindy Donaldson, Kevin Brisson and Jen Perry of Open Door,” said Health and Wellness Coordinator Karen Hurst.
Initially the GHS Free Food Locker will be open on Fridays during both lunches in Room 1409, or by appointment set up through the GHS Health Ctr.- Rm 1214. Each eligible student will be able to take home one of each type of food item either in their backpack or in a paper bag supplied by Open Door.
The health center will be keeping track of the number of students who will be using the FFL for Open Door. If possible, we will collect student last names, addresses, and if they are existing clients of Open Door. Providing this information is voluntary until Feb 29, 2020. Referrals are not required to participate; students may self refer.
Food deliveries are expected to come in each Monday from the Open Door Food Pantry. For their first delivery, they received approximately one case (24 each) of 14 food items. This food inventory will change according to Open Door’s inventory and availability.
The hopes of the Health Center Team moving forward is that this new program will prove to be a valuable asset to Gloucester High Students, and that students will begin to utilize this new resource on the path to achieving food security.