Going to school hungry is a fact of life for many students in Cheatham County, and now their families have another way to get the sustenance they need, through food banks opened at two local schools over the last month. While federal programs provide free and reduced lunches for families who qualify, and area churches and food banks distribute food, officials with Cheatham County Schools saw a need to help families who were in transition and needed food quickly.
Claudette Fizer, Cheatham County Schools Family and Community Engagement Coordinator/Homeless Liasion, said she and Dr. Andrea Bringard from Riverside Academy discussed starting a food bank. Fizer called up Second Harvest Food Bank to see if they could apply to receive a shipment of food. Second Harvest’s representative who works with the school system said there just happened to be a grant available to provide enough food for not one food bank, but for two.
“So now, we have one food bank at Riverside and one at Cheatham County Central High School,” she said. So far, just over 100 families have received food boxes filled with items like peanut butter, canned chicken, rice, spaghetti noodles and pasta sauce, and corn flakes.
“The food boxes go out the door to wherever they are needed as teachers and counselors identify needs. People don’t really come by these food banks to pick up food. Instead, we are delivering to schools, to homes, to those that are in transition, staying in hotels and temporary housing which can be extremely expensive,” Fizer said.
The school food banks have already been able to partner with the Health Department to supply toiletry items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, and floss, she said, but there is a need for deodorant and shampoo. Citizens are welcome to donate sample shampoos and small bars of soap that they get at hotels on vacation.
For more information, call 615-746-1406.