District 300 To Open First In-School Food Pantry in Kane County

District 300 To Open First In-School Food Pantry in Kane County

Community Unit School District 300 will open the first in-school food pantry in Kane County.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set to take place Aug. 31, 2016, and open the doors for the first time to serve an estimated 100 families per week.

The pantry, located in Carpentersville Middle School, will allow children and their families who are currently enrolled in District 300 to “shop” at the pantry and choose healthy foods and milk, providing a more sustainable source of nutrition and creating an opportunity for families to select options that will help their children grow into healthy, active adults while allowing a more consistent diet giving the children the brain power to learn.

School District 300 logoThere is no cost to families who visit the pantry.

According to the district’s business plan document, the pantry will provide an additional wrap-around services through community engagement, nutrition education, health services, SNAP outreach, all provided at the pantry.

So, why is a school district getting into the food-pantry arena? The District 300 business plan quotes the Centers for Disease Control.

“The academic success of America’s youth is strongly linked with their health,” the CDC says. “Health-related factors such as hunger, physical and emotional abuse and chronic illness can lead to poor school performance.

“In turn, academic success is an excellent indicator of the overall well-being of youth and a primary predictor and determinant of adult health outcomes. … Schools play a critical role in promoting the health and safety of young people and helping them establish lifelong healthy behaviors.”

School District 300 is the sixth largest school district in the state of Illinois, with a student enrollment of more than 24,000. According to District 300, about 53 percent of the student body qualifies for state federal subsidized breakfast and lunch.

“This data is a strong indication of the need of food assistance,” the food pantry business plan says.

The D300 Food Pantry will be strategically located in a 900-square-foot space at Carpentersville Middle School, 100 Cleveland Ave., Door 21, which is within a six-mile radius of neighborhoods that have a high need for food assistance. A PACE bus stop is located close to the facility, and a PACE map will be provided to all families of the PACE route.

The food pantry will provide food and milk, essential items which cannot be purchased through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, such as school supplies, personal hygiene items, household cleaning products, paper goods and infant supplies, as well as educational classes on food nutrition and cooking classes.

Craig Raddatz, president of the D300 Food Pantry, says the pantry would not have been possible without generous grants and donations. Morgan Stanley awarded a $50,000 grant, the Rotary Club of the Fox Valley awarded $2,000 and $10,000 for food costs, the Chapel Mobile Food Pantry awarded $6,000 for the building fund and the Northern Illinois Food Bank awarded $8,000 for food costs, according to the business plan document.

The pantry will be open from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, including during spring break, winter break and the summer months. This food pantry will be primarily supplied by the Northern Illinois Food Bank, and food offerings will include personal care products such as shampoo and toothpaste, canned items, frozen grocery items including meat, school supplies, diapers and other baby items, household cleaning supplies such as laundry and dish soap, fresh fruit and vegetables when available, as well as bread and milk.

SOURCE: School District 300 Food Pantry