Pacer Pantry extends help beyond the school day
A new Pacer Pantry will allow Delaware Hayes High School students to help fellow students in need.
In 2012, 31 percent of the student population at Delaware Hayes High School was considered to be economically disadvantaged.
This year, staff members at Hayes became aware that some students do not have food or other much-needed items at home.
According to Jennifer McCoy, an intervention specialist and co-chairwoman of the special education department, students have access to free and reduced-price lunches while they are at school, but that's not the problem.
"The problem isn't while they are at school, but when they go home," she said. "Some of them don't have food for dinner or toilet paper at their house."
In response, Hayes has established the Pacer Pantry, which will be run by McCoy's special needs classroom as part of its curriculum to learn functional life skills and provide community service.
Her students will collect the items, stock the shelves and keep inventory. She said the pantry will offer more than non-perishable items; it will have access to a freezer and a refrigerator for perishable items.
Staff members started collecting food, dish soap, laundry detergent, feminine products, toothbrushes and other items Sept. 9.
"The staff is 100-percent on board and we already have so many items," she said.
The student council will accept donations for the Pacer Pantry in exchange for entry to the homecoming Powder Puff football game at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Hayes stadium.
The inventory at Pacer Pantry will be free to anyone who needs help. In an effort to be discreet, McCoy said a Google spreadsheet is being created that will allow students to anonymously fill out requests for the items they need and provide just an email address as a contact.
The assistance request form is available on a blog at www.pacerpantry. blogspot.com.
McCoy said there is now a link to this blog on the high school's website under "Students and Parents."
Once her students see the spreadsheet request, they will collect what is needed and put it in a bag for the students to pick up in the guidance counselor's office.
"We want to keep this anonymous, so not even the students bagging the items will know who will be receiving them," she said.
Fliers have been distributed to staff members, who have been asked to discreetly inform students who may need assistance that help is available.
"We want our students to have what they need at home," she said. "They need well-balanced food at home in order to do well at school. This is an effort to take care of everyone."
McCoy said her students are excited about the project.
"To know you're helping a fellow student or someone who sits right next to you in a classroom is really exciting," she said. "We can know that we are making a difference for the students right here at Hayes."
Any community members who would like to contribute items to the Pacer Pantry may drop them off in a box in the main office at Hayes High School, 289 Euclid Ave.
"These items won't go to a stranger somewhere in Ohio," she said. "They're going to our own students."
More information about the Pacer Pantry is available by calling McCoy at 740-833-1010 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.