Junior Casey Abernethy holds a donation. Senior Alex Smith, who had the idea to start a food pantry for students in need, approached the Beta Club about starting the program. Photo by Mallory Cox.

In the United States, approximately 15.9 million children live in a home where they do not have access to enough food. These children face serious health risks.  Malnutrition caused by the lack of food can create learning problems. These children may have a slower reaction time and difficulty paying attention. Physical problems may also appear.  Children who are malnourished can have weaker bones and muscles, and their internal organs may not function properly.

To prevent malnutrition, many schools offer their students lunches for free or for a reduced price. Parents fill out paperwork and children are able to eat a filling, nutritious meal.

However, when these children go home, they are not afforded the opportunity of free and reduced food. These children go home to be hungry.

Senior Alex Smith, a member of the Beta Club, has a solution to this growing problem: an in-school food bank.

“They have it at Thomas Dale,” Smith said, “it’s called Knights in Need.”

Junior Casey Abernethy holds a donation. Senior Alex Smith, who had the idea to start a food pantry for students in need, approached the Beta Club about starting the program. Photo by Mallory Cox.
Junior Casey Abernethy holds a donation. Senior Alex Smith, who had the idea to start a food pantry for students in need, approached the Beta Club about starting the program. Photo by Mallory Cox.
Junior Casey Abernethy believes that this program could bring benefits not only to those students in need, but also to the school as a whole, because it requires that students get involved.

“I think it brings a stronger sense of community to the high school, as well as providing another source of help to those in need,” Abernethy said.  “I think that many students will get involved with this program because they know that it will help their classmates.”

Once the food bank has been stocked and the program is officially ready for business students will be able to receive help easily.

If a student wants to receive help, all they have to do is talk to a guidance counselor. The counselor will assess the need of the student, approve it, and then contact the Beta Club on what is needed. The student will receive help shortly thereafter.

“It’s all anonymous,” West said.

In order to make asking for help easier for students, the program has been set up so that the only people who know which students have asked for help are the guidance counselors. This will prevent students from feeling too embarrassed or scared to ask for help.

Royals Relief will make helping students easier by making the assistance accessible in a place where they go 5 days out of the week.

“I don’t see any disadvantages to the program, and hope it succeeds in the future,” Abernethy said. “I hope to be involved in helping continue the program as well.”