Since the start of virtual learning back in March, the PTSA-sponsored AHS food pantry has had to make many adjustments to continue to distribute supplies.
At the start of the pandemic, they held drive through distributions, but quickly came to the realization that it would be difficult to continue this. Store restrictions prevented them from being able to purchase large quantities of items at a time, which made it difficult to pass out supplies on the scale that they had done before.
After lots of discussion, members of the PTSA decided that the easiest option would be to clear out their shelves and start giving out grocery store gift cards instead. The food pantry also provides a bilingual list of other pantries in the area that give out food and not only gift cards.
In September, the food pantry was able to reopen for distributions on the second and fourth Friday of each month. The schedule has been adjusted around school holidays and closings.
These events are held outside of the Parent Resource Center in the back parking lot to allow for social distancing. Masks are also required for volunteers and people picking up food.A wide variety of household items, including cleaning supplies, hygiene products, and paper towels are also provided
The food pantry has been able to provide for at least 65% of students who participate in the government funded program of free and reduced lunch.
“I believe when students have a secure source of food they are more prepared to learn and they are more set up for success in the classroom,” PTSA Treasurer Kimberly Bellem said. “This will also lead to success after high school.”
Food insecurity is a major problem students face and the PTSA wants to help families struggling with this.
“Creating a food pantry to support our students who are food insecure was an easy decision,” PTSA President Norma Foti said. “It raises awareness about food insecurity amongst our AHS school community.”
The food pantry is fueled by donations. If you would like to donate they accept non-perishable items such as canned goods, pasta, rice, beans and shelf stable milk.
They also accept household items, diapers, wipes and toiletries. All of these items can be dropped off in the main office.
If you wish to donate remotely you can order from their Amazon Wish List and have it delivered to the school or send a monetary donation online or through the mail marked as “AHS Pantry.”
“I am constantly overwhelmed and extremely grateful by the generosity of our greater Annandale community, staff, alumni, and countless others near and far for their support of the pantry through food donations, monetary donations and food drives” Foti said. “The AHS students and their families who access the pantry are very thankful.”
If you wish to receive supplies from the pantry, contact a teacher or counselor and they will set it up for you.
“Everyone needs help at some point and no one should feel badly because they do,” Foti said. “Circumstances change and you never know when you or I might need help.”
Monetary donations accepted through PayPal using the link below: