SUPERIOR - Mineral County’s declining economic situation has resulted in hungry bellies in Superior school classrooms.
As the number of hungry kids and families increased, so did support from the Superior School District. Superior Elementary School administrative assistant Dawn Bauer has been a driving force behind this effort to feed kids over the weekend.
“When they are here, when they are under this roof, it is easier to take care of them than it is to worry about them,” Bauer said.
The school sends about 400 backpacks full of food home with kids on the weekends and sent out an additional 200 pounds of food last month.
Every student in the school district qualifies for free breakfast and lunch due to area poverty levels, but a lot of those kids are going home to empty cupboards.
“Oftentimes the Calvary doesn’t come riding in, you have to be creative and come up with solutions for yourself, so that is all of what you have seen today, that is what this is,” said Scott Kinney, Superior schools superintendent.
Mineral Community Hospital employees donated over 720 pounds of food to the pantry on Friday.
“And our employees, time and again, are extremely generous, when it comes to these types of projects,” said Mineral Community Hospital CEO Ron Gleason.
Hospital employees have held multiple community food drives and expressed a desire to partner with Superior schools to support the food pantry.
“Some kids have the home lives that they get to eat all the time, and stuff, and some kids just don’t have that. The hospital giving the donation like this, it helps those kids too,” said 14-year-old freshman Bryan Mask.
“It is sad that there are kids in our community and everywhere that don’t have, maybe they don’t have the money or whatever, maybe there’s other problems. But the community and the hospital and the school stepping in to help. That’s a good feeling,” said 16-year-old Sophomore Kyler Francis.
The pantry’s grant-funded crock pot program that started last fall is not just an opportunity to stay fed, but also to build life skills.
“I’ll send home those recipes with them today with their beans," Bauer said. "In the file cabinet behind you is a whole folder of recipes that we go through and we look and we see what we have here, and their homework is with what you have at home, let’s pick a recipe that you guys can put this together for the weekend. You guys can feed yourselves all weekend. And your family for that matter. So it is future. It is an investment."
The hospital is hosting this food drive for the school through October and donations can be dropped off there. The school food pantry accepts donations to its programs all the time, and you can call the elementary school office directly to coordinate a drop off.
The Food Pantry opened in fall of 2016 and has expanded since due to multiple grants and community partners.