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East Stroudsburg South High School fights food insecurity

The Purple Pantry helps dozens of students and their families a month, with kids using it nearly every day.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Boxes of non-perishable food — cans, cereal, and pasta — are the most recent donations to the Purple Pantry at East Stroudsburg South High School.

The food comes from Giant's Fill-A-Plate food drive.

"Without the donations, we would not be able to do this," said Kate Lee, a teacher at East Stroudsburg South and one of the organizers of the Purple Pantry.

The pantry provides food and other essentials to students in need.

"Sometimes, I'll have a parent come, and we take it out to their car and meet with them. Other times, we'll have students come down, and they'll just take what they can fit in their backpack or bags and take it home. So, we try to make it that it's a wide range based on whatever you need. We are flexible and provide that for our students," said Lee.

The pantry helps dozens of students and their families each month, with kids using it nearly every day.

Lee says since prices for nearly everything went up, she's seen more students come in.

"A lot of times students will come in and say, 'I just need something now,' because we don't get anything more until this date, and so that is something that's different, whereas before we have a need, it was a consistent need. Now, I'm seeing that families are not able to make it through the month, and so they need that before their next check comes in or whatever resource that they have," Lee said.

The food pantry and clothing closet used to be in one room, but the need has grown so much that they needed an entire room to be able to help feed students.

"We wanted also to sort of normalize it. You know, 'This is not a bad thing.' This is a great opportunity, so if you want to, you can come in and not to make it something that's like, 'Oh, I don't want to,' or, 'I might be embarrassed,' or anything like that," said Lee.

Those interested in helping the Purple Pantry can email purplepantry@esasd.net.

Organizers ask you to get in touch to see what items are needed before donating.

If you're a student or family in the East Stroudsburg area school district and would like to receive help, click here. 

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