COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Schools throughout Atlanta do their best to keep children nourished by offering free or reduced price lunch programs. Some children fall short of these needs when they get home and one middle school in Cobb County is trying to do something about it.
McCleskey Middle School started a food pantry. Their goal is to provide food for students in need at their school and at others in the community.
"We have seen an increase in the number of families who not only need financial assistance, but who need food items," said McCleskey Middle School social worker Kim Evans.
McCleskey students stock the shelves of the pantry and even organize drives for other items like clothes and toiletries.
The response has been generous. So much that they've partnered with MUST Ministries, an outreach organization bringing food to families all over north Georgia.
President and CEO Ike Reighard says this is the twenty-fourth school to partner with MUST Ministries. He says MUST has centrally located pantries that can only be open at certain hours. Food pantries like the one at McCleskey get food into neighborhoods. Families don't have to drive as far to get what they need and they can go during hours they are not working.
"Being able to take a pantry actually into the neighborhood, into the school where after hours parents can come in, and then there's not the stigma attached to it. It's been a fantastic program," said Reighard.
Students say it makes them happy to help and they hope to expand even more in the future.