Temple Emanuel and Highland Presbyterian Church, neighbors in the Ardmore community, are joining hands once again to help those in need. They will open the first School Food Pantry in Forsyth Country in October at Highland. The pantry will be available to the children and families of Moore Elementary School in need of food assistance.
“As a magnet school, Moore attracts children from middle income families whose parents live nearby,” says Sid Shapiro, president of Temple Emanuel, “yet more than 50 percent of the children are eligible for the free and reduced cost lunches, which means the parents of these children are struggling to make ends meet, in large part because of job layoffs. Participation by the Temple enables us to fulfill the commandment from Torah of opening our hands to those who are in need.” He noted that Dr. Robert Schwartz “devoted countless hours to this project.”
Dawn Nelson, chair of Highland’s Community Service Committee, gives a lot of credit to Kit Broadhurst. Broadhurst, a member of the Community Service Committee and Human Resources manager at Second Harvest Food Bank, said the food pantry would be more valuable because it could feed entire families, not just the children who would benefit from the food bank’s BackPacks program. Nelson had been involved with the BackPacks program at Cook Elementary.
Highland and Temple Emanuel have a history of helping each other, sharing facilities and providing volunteer support during each other’s holy seasons.
The pantry will be open twice a month on the second Thursday of each month from 9:00-11:00 a.m. and the fourth Tuesday from 2:00-4:00 p.m. It will be exclusively for families at Moore Elementary School whose children are eligible for free/reduced lunch. Other pantries in the area, including the one at Ardmore United Methodist Church, support the Moore program.
Nelson said teachers will select students based on their knowledge of “hunger in the classroom” signs, such as hoarding food during lunch, lack of concentration and asking for food prior to lunch because they did not have breakfast.
Shapiro said there are unique advantages of the pantry, including privacy for families struggling in a challenging economy; and the ability to offer personal care items such as clothes, toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent, diapers, etc., which are not available in many other food pantries. Eventually, the pantry plans to offer nutrition and cooking classes.
Justice is compassion raised to an institutional level.