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Panther Pantry helps Pocono students in need

The food and hygiene pantry is open to all Pocono Mountain students and their families.

POCONO SUMMIT, Pa. — What was once an art room inside Pocono Mountain West High School in Tobyhanna Township has now transformed into a food and hygiene pantry.

The pantry is where students in the district can take what they need, free of charge. 

"We wanted to have more resources available to the students who were there in the building. They can just get it. They don't have to go out into the community to get anything. It's all just housed in the building," Evelyn Payne, an Athletic trainer for St. Luke's who works at Pocono Mountain West High School, said. 

Payne came up with the idea after seeing a report from St. Luke's about addressing food and health insecurities. 

Since starting the Panther Pantry, more than 55 students and families have received help. 

"Definitely, the hygiene need was the most surprising for me, I guess. The food need is always there. But when they see that we have all the hygiene stuff, it's just stuff they're not able to find in other places," Payne said.

The food and hygiene pantry is open to all Pocono Mountain students and their families. School officials are encouraging those families to come through these doors and get anything they need.

"We haven't had as many people, as many families using it over the summer, as we did during the school year," Payne said. "But it's because they're not the building and transportation issues and the price of gas, but the families that are coming in are taking more things than they do during the school."

The pantry was made possible by grants through St.Luke's, Sanofi Pasteur, donations and discounts from Mount Pocono Shoprite, and donations from people. 

Payne said she will always accept donations to continue helping her students and families in need.

"I am just really happy for them that we have this resource available and that they can get what they need all together in one place, and it's just helping the families, and it's helping the kids, and it's just setting the kids up for future success," Payne said.

If you are interested in donating, contact the Pocono Mountain West High school at (570) 839-7121.

The Panther Pantry also has an Amazon wishlist

You can also email Evelyn Payne to schedule a visit to the pantry or to donate at epayne@pmsd.org

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