(HELENA) This week the Montana Television Network is teaming up with non-profits and local and state agencies to support the “Week of Young Child” an opportunity to promote healthy kids and communities.

In this week’s class act reports, MTN’s Dennis Carlson met one of the 10 student volunteers working to defeat hunger at Helena High School.

“Hunger is the theft of potential. The Helena High School Food Pantry was established two years ago and it’s for kids that forget their lunch or maybe depend on it every single day, so my connection is I’ve had friends they’ve had to use it. Usually it’s lunch time and they are looking … and sometimes they take home food for dinner as well. Some of these kids, this is the only meal that they get every single day.
40 students take home food for the weekends as well. Ramon, soup cans, fruit cups, basically anything you can easily make for lunch. But all of the items have to be shelf stable so we can’t really have any fresh fruits, vegetables, sandwiches anything like that. Cereal for breakfasts. And then, like I said, different types of fruit, granola bars, just things like that, quick grab and go. You know, the last thing that they want to be worrying about every day is when their next meal is going to be. Knowing that they have the support here, and that they can count on being able to come here for a meal, whether its’ just for once a week, once a month or every single day I think, you know, it creates a sense of unity. I didn’t know that our school had a food pantry until actually this year and you know she said that they’re always needing food and that teachers help out, but sometimes they run low and if they run low the 30 to 40 students that depend on the food pantry for food, don’t get anything. I was really proud of our school that we really have resources and I feel that you know, erasing the stigma around coming here for lunch and this is a thing that’s okay. If you just forget your lunch for a day it’s alright. I forgot my lunch one day and I grabbed a macaroni packet from out of here. Nothing to be ashamed of and I think that the Helena School District and the administration do a really good job at promoting that, that it’s okay. I mean, it’s not okay to be hungry, but it’ okay to reach out and ask for help,” said Helena High School Food Pantry Director Absaroka Jones.

Helena High students are holding a food drive this week to stock up the pantry.

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If you’d like to help, contact Nancy Oliveria at 406-324-2225  or you can e-mail her at noliveira@helenaschools.org


REPORTER: Dennis Carlson
E-MAIL: dennis@kxlh.com