Cats Cupboard helps students in need


Evalyne Simpson, Reporter

In a perfect world, students would come to school everyday focused and ready to learn,but many students don’t meet that expectation. If a student isn’t getting the support they need at home, they often don’t perform well in school. Hunger is one of the reasons students don’t perform well in school. 46% of American children from low income families say hunger negatively affects their academic performance (“Hunger Pains:Teaching Hungry Students”). The hunger problem in America goes hand in hand with food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as being without a reliable supply of food at a household level.It usually occurs when a family doesn’t have enough money to pay for food.

Luckily, there are ways that food insecure families can get the help they need. A food pantry is one resource that is available for families in need. A food pantry is a distribution center where families in need can receive food. To combat this issue within MASH, there is a food pantry in our school students can visit called Cats Cupboard.

Cats Cupboard provides food for anyone in our school that doesn’t have access to necessary food supplies at home. The food pantry is run by teachers in our school and most of the supplies are also donated by teachers. The supplies are stored and restocked when needed.

Foods that are easily stored and are long lasting are the main items in Cats Cupboard. The food pantry has a variety of foods, including supplies from each food group. Items like soups, cereals, pastas, and snacks are easiest to keep, so those items are always stocked. There are also a lot of canned foods, like tuna and ready to make meals. The selection of items depends on demand from students. More items are added as needs arise. 

The food pantry is run by teachers in our school. Mrs. Daniel, Miss. Maria, and aid in the LEARN program, and Mr.Costello are all involved with Cats Cupboard. Miss Maria and Mr.Costello organize and update the food pantry and Mrs.Daniel gives direction. She also supplies food for the pantry. Miss. Maria worked with the food pantry at New Hope Ministries for a number of years. As a result, she decided to work with Cats Cupboard because she has a background working in a food pantry and  to “provide help for students.” She notes how beneficial student involvement in Cats Cupboard is, explaining, “Working with a food pantry shows kids what a real job is like. One of my students worked at New Hope for eight years and went on to be the manager at a food store.”  A few students have gotten the chance to help with cats Cupboard. One of those students, Sr. Bailey Branoff, says, “We organized the food and got it all set up. We also prepared boxes for people in need.” Bailey and the other students have continued to assist in the upkeep and organization of Cats Cupboard. 

Visiting a food pantry can be a daunting task for many people. A lot of people are afraid of being judged or don’t feel comfortable asking for help. Mr.Costello says, “A lot of students might be apprehensive about asking for help.” He reminds students,“If you know someone who needs help, help them.” If someone you know is struggling with food insecurity, urge them to talk to their counselor. If you yourself are struggling with food insecurity, you should also meet with your counselor. They will get the supplies you need from Cats Cupboard. Everything is private and there is no need to be embarrassed about getting help.