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Food pantry at Shikellamy High School helping hungry students

A school district in Northumberland County is helping families make healthy food choices with its new food pantry.

SUNBURY, Pa. — When you're hungry at school, it can be hard to concentrate. Food insecurity is a problem everywhere, including the Shikellamy School District in the Sunbury area.

"There's a big need in our community, especially with the cost of everything going up — the cost of food, everything. We have a lot of students who come to me, Mrs. Swartz, and say they're hungry," said Amy Minnier.

Amy Minnier is a nurse at Shikellamy High School, and Lara Swartz is a social worker. They are excited about the school district's new food pantry, which opened last week.

"Students can come during the school day. We have food that they can eat during the day but also food that they can take home," Swartz explained.

The food pantry was sponsored by the American Heart Association. The organization helped the school district buy food storage equipment.

"Increasing the healthy fruits, vegetables, healthy whole grains into our diet, we can better promote heart health, so something like the food pantry is really important, especially for the youth in the city of Sunbury," said Nick Ide, a community impact director with the American Heart Association.

"We know inflation is impacting families and families in need of help. Nutritious food is a big part of doing well in school, so this pantry is going to help families excel," said Joe Arthur with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank, the organization supplying the food.

District officials say since the food pantry opened last week, more than a dozen students have visited. The pantry also has clothing and hygiene products.

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