Buckingham Foundation is partnering in the fight against hunger thanks to Gleaners Food Bank! During the 2018-2019 school year, Gleaners Food Bank will support and distribute nutrient-dense food to 55 School-Based Pantry locations, including George Buck Elementary School. The dedicated staff at George Buck Elementary, in conjunction with Buckingham Foundation, has made a huge impact in the lives of food-insecure students and families.

In March of 2015, Buckingham Foundation partnered with IPS #94 George Buck Elementary to build a school pantry. Over a period of several days, Buckingham Foundation transformed an empty storage room into a fully-stocked food pantry with refrigerators, freezers, and several shelving units.

In October of 2018, George Buck was able to provide a hosted official School-Based Pantry through the funding of Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, thanks to Buckingham Foundation’s grant-giving capabilities. The mission is to prepare all students for their future by establishing a community of learning through relationships, respect and academic rigor.

With enrollment currently at 372 students, there are 298 students at George Buck Elementary eligible for free lunches provided by the school. Eligibility for free or reduced-price meals depends on a family’s income compared to the national poverty line. At this time, 80% of the entire student body is eligible for free/reduced-price lunches due to limited family income.

The pantry at George Buck Elementary is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 3pm to 6pm. This is a high-traffic opportunity for students and families to collect the food that they need. The pantry is open to the school community as well as the surrounding neighborhood.

Since its official opening in October, the pantry has served a grand total of 99 households and 485 individuals! Of the total people served, 54% of clients were under the age of 18.

In three months, the pantry has distributed 9,100 pounds of food, or the equivalent of 7,583 meals. Thanks to the staff at George Buck Elementary and Buckingham Foundation, the pantry has increased its capacity to serve food-insecure students and families.

 “During the final week of December, when schools are closed, we served seven families for a total of 32 people...who would have otherwise been without the necessary nutritional items. We also were able to provide 10 holiday baskets to other families to meet their nutritional needs during the holiday season,” comments Yvonne Hollins, Site Coordinator.

Gleaners Food Bank School-Based Pantries serve 55 schools across 21 counties.  These pantries serve nearly 5,000 students and their families, offering nutritious food that can be taken home and prepared. School pantries will continue to be a priority for distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables. It is our dream that through a collective effort, struggling families will be relieved of the financial and emotional burden associated with providing food.

“Thank you so much for supporting the pantry at George Buck Elementary. Your contribution has helped feed hundreds of students and families with nutritious food that encourages a healthy lifestyle,” says Bethany Watson, Manager of Grants and Foundation Relations for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc.

Jessica Foster

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