Kennewick School District, Second Harvest partner to supply food - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kennewick School District, Second Harvest partner to supply food pantry

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Kennewick School District staff members Sarah Del Toro and Kelly Bolson Kennewick School District staff members Sarah Del Toro and Kelly Bolson

KENNEWICK, WA - Students at risk of going hungry are benefiting from a new partnership between Second Harvest and the Kennewick School District.

The nonprofit now stocks the district’s food pantry, providing a steady flow of food and other items schools can provide to students who face food shortages at home.

Beyond helping students stay healthy and focused in the classroom, school and district officials say the program is helping build strong relationships between students, schools and families.

“When students’ basic needs are met, everything else just falls into place,” says Jacki Moore, assistant principal at Lincoln Elementary. “They do much better in school because they can concentrate on learning.”

About half of the students in the district receive free or reduced-price meals at school. The district established a food pantry in the 2016-17 school year with $1,500 in proceeds from a charity basketball game between the Kennewick police and fire departments. That donation went far in helping students in need but more support was needed to keep the pantry stocked.

The district reached out to Second Harvest about making regular food deliveries of non-perishable, shelf-stable food items and fresh produce such as apples, onions and potatoes to fill the pantry. The nonprofit signed on, seeing an opportunity to consolidate requests for support from Kennewick schools and potentially serve more students.

Schools are notified when the pantry is stocked and what is available. School staff members then request supplies for students they’ve identified as needing support and come pick it up from the district’s Administration Center. The district and Second Harvest also are looking at possibly adding distribution of more fresh produce in the spring.

“We have already received positive feedback from the schools,” says Michele Roth, community impact director with Second Harvest. “KSD is a great partner and, through this district level support, we can now say ‘yes’ to so many more schools and reach more families in need.”

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