Glen Cove residents in need have access to a new food pantry thanks to students at Finley Middle School.
The pantry, which is open on Fridays from 3-5 p.m., was created by members of the school’s Kiwanis Builders Club, National Junior Honor Society and Student Council, as part of the school’s collaboration with international charity and educational partner WE Free the Children. Through this effort, students are committed to making a positive impact on the local and global communities.
The idea for the pantry appealed to students because it gave them an opportunity to help their neighbors, but first they had to find a place to house the pantry. They ultimately decided to use a storage room at the school. The middle school children worked hard emptying the contents of the room, disposing of garbage and donating items that were useful. Then, thanks to the assistance of the school’s custodial staff, the room was cleaned, painted and shelves were repaired. The Art Club, under the direction of adviser Amanda Rodriguez, also participated by painting the entrance and door to the pantry.
The children collected food from family members, neighbors and members of the community. Athletic teams from the high school and a local Scout troop also hosted food drives to benefit the school’s pantry.
Kirsten Kenney, the Kiwanis Builders Club adviser, said she couldn’t be more proud of the students who made the pantry possible.
“These students are inspired and they are very excited to pitch in,” Kenney said. “They even come down to the pantry during their lunch periods to help.”
During its hours of operation, three students and a faculty member will be on hand to help at the pantry. All students have signed confidentiality agreements to take part in the community service activity.
As part of the students’ commitment to making a positive impact globally, they hosted bake sales, hot cocoa sales and popcorn sales and raised enough money to feed 10 children lunch for a year in Sierra Leone, Africa.
Principal Nelson Iocolano thanked Kenney, Student Council adviser Desiree Viruet and National Junior Honor Society adviser Kristen Schnall for leading the students in their efforts. Iocolano also expressed his gratitude to the students.
“I really want to thank the students,” he said. “None of this would have happened without you. You continue to inspire us each and every day.”
Sixth-grader Mia Rios helped stock the shelves at the pantry.
Photos courtesy of the Glen Cove City School District