QUINCY, MASS. March 5, 2020 – In an effort to reduce hunger, Stop & Shop has donated $150,000 to launch a school food pantry at B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River, Mass., to support Fall River Public Schools.
Fall River is a 70% high-needs District according to the State, which is more than double the average of 32.8% in Mass. One hundred percent of all students in Fall River Public Schools are eligible for free breakfast and lunch due to the student poverty levels as part of the Student Eligibility Provision Program. The challenge is students go hungry over the weekend and on school vacations.
“We are grateful to Stop & Shop for their fantastic philanthropic support that will enable our students an opportunity to stem hunger while simultaneously ensuring the grace and dignity of our students and their families in partnership with B.M.C. Durfee High School,” said Matthew H. Malone, Ph.D., Superintendent of Fall River Public Schools. “It’s a win-win for all and I’m excited to see this come to fruition.”
Stop & Shop has provided $150,000 to expand direct access to food for students who often go hungry after school or on weekends. Stop & Shop’s Distribution Center in Freetown, Mass., delivers food to the high school, which is then sorted and packed by students with disabilities. Students participating in the program receive a backpack filled with pantry staples such as rice, peanut butter and pasta as well as canned goods and snacks each Friday to take home. Working together with Stop & Shop, Gold Medal Bakery, which is headquartered in Fall River, has also begun donating bread on a weekly basis.
“We’re incredibly proud to support Fall River Public Schools in providing food insecure children with meals to stay nourished,” said Jennifer Brogan, Director of Community Relations for Stop & Shop. “Through Stop & Shop’s School Food Pantry program, we’re making it a priority to help children succeed in the classroom by making sure they have consistent access to food. We’re supporting nearly a dozen school food pantries across our footprint thus far – and plan to open more to address this need in our communities.”
The Stop & Shop School Food Pantry is currently assisting 70 families. Backpacks filled with food are delivered to all elementary schools and to students at Durfee High School every Friday, with plans to expand to the city’s three middle schools. The pantry is managed by the school district’s food service provider Whitsons Culinary Group.
“Our partnership with Stop & Shop provides students and families with essential nutritional support while engaging Durfee students with service-learning and vocational opportunities,” said Matthew Desmarais, Principal of B.M.C. Durfee High School.
In Massachusetts, Stop & Shop has partnered with schools across the state to support school pantries for students in need. Stop & Shop School Food Pantries are currently in operation at Washington S.T.E.M. Elementary in Lynn, Community Elementary School in North Attleboro, Massasoit Community College in Brockton and Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield. The company hopes to work with more schools in the future.