Hunger in Claremore is not a new issue; however, a new solution has been added to the public elementary schools. This January when students went back after the break, they were introduced to a new option of being able to access a small box pantry full of snack items and sample toiletries. The purpose of the boxes is to fill the gaps left by other programs and to provide a resource to teachers who are often the ones that keep snacks available for hungry students. The boxes are placed in the school offices for discretionary reasons and children do not have to provide paperwork in order to gain access to the program. Since the introduction of the boxes, schools are reporting that the boxes have already been greatly utilized.
Using the boxes to fight hunger isn’t the only opportunity the pantries provide. Students are encouraged to bring a box or package of individually wrapped snacks that are non-perishable. Items such as crackers, cookies, chips, gummies, granola bars, and cereal bars are excellent. The toiletries are also an important aspect of the caring boxes. Many programs just provide food and therefore items like soap, shampoo, deodorant, and dental hygiene products are not easily obtainable. Sample sizes of each of these toiletries work great as they are small and easily packed away in backpacks. This program gives children the opportunity to help care for other students, teaching a powerful lesson of compassion for others and the power of giving. Students wanting to donate to the boxes can label donations “Feeding Our Friends” and can be left in the school office. Anyone else wanting to contribute or would like more information can contact Crystal Wood Campbell at 918-381-4482.