Hello, I am a 20 year veteran teacher. I teach children with special needs. To say that a lot has changed since the pandemic is an understatement. The children are coming to school hungry. They are coming to school unbathed. There have been students who have arrived without undergarments. The grants that were providing food to be sent home with the students have expired. I'm sure that we can all agree that most families are experiencing challenges that we didn't experience before Covid. In 20 years, this is the first time that I'm hearing so many students say that groceries aren't in the budget or their parents don't have money for gas. I'm seeing so many more students come in without proper fitting clothing. Parents are overwhelmed with their personal challenges, and it is severely affecting children and their abilities to learn.
I have been providing the basic essentials for the students because let's face it, kids can't learn if their bellies are hungry or if their pants are digging into their bodies. I have created a clothing pantry and most recently, a food pantry. The problem is that the need has grown, but my finances have not. My goal is to feed any child who comes to school hungry, is at school hungry, or send home food if there are food insecurities at home. I am stocking the pantry with individual items that are easily prepared so that my students with special needs can prepare it at home with little to no assistance (many times there is a lack of appropriate parental guidance). My other goal is to fill the pantry with a variety of foods from each food group. Unfortunately, the healthier the food, the more expensive the cost. Thank you in advance for helping these students receive basic needs, so they can focus their attention on learning.