By Rachel Hahn
Northside Planning Council
On September 26, Mendota Elementary School had a grand opening for their food pantry after recognizing the challenge of getting food to Northside residents. As a Community School, Mendota was able to implement three priority areas to focus on. They include: support for homeless and highly mobile families, out of school time, and employment and job training opportunities. In addition to these three areas, the need for a food pantry in Mendota was supported by the Community Schools Committee members as a way to provide additional support to families and scholars. Mendota was able to partner with Food For Thought and Lea Aschkenase to bring the pantry to life.
The pantry offers a number of non-perishable items including things like beans, snacks, canned vegetables/fruits and cereal. They also offer some perishable/fresh items such as meat, fruit and vegetables, milk and bread. When I asked parent teacher liason and community school coordinator Ms. Sonia Spencer what she felt was the most significant benefit of having a food pantry onsite for Mendota Elementary School community, she said, “our families now have a one stop shop for their needs.”
The pantry is open Tuesday and Fridays from 2:30‒5:30 pm until the end of October. Starting in November, the pantry hours will be Tuesday 2:30‒5:30 pm, Thursdays 1‒3 pm with extended hours during Open School House once a month until 7 pm. They don’t ask any identifying information, nor verify income; they simply ask how many adults and children are in the household to keep a count for stocking purposes. The pantry has been a welcoming addition to Mendota!