McPheeters Bend school food pantry celebrates one year anniversary with food drive

Jeff Bobo • Feb 14, 2019 at 8:30 PM

CHURCH HILL — In its first year of operation, the McPheeters Bend Elementary School food pantry has distributed hundreds of pounds of food to its students to ensure their nutritional needs are being met on weekends.

As the MBES food pantry celebrates its one year anniversary Friday, the school is hoping the community will step up in the coming year and help match or exceed last year’s successes.

The staff at McPheeters Bend saw a need last year and began a fundraiser to start the pantry, raising more than $460 for the Feb. 15, 2018 start-up, and donations continued in following months.

During the summer, members of the school staff and community members held weekly food drives to help stock the shelves for the coming school year.

The Food Lion in Church Hill donated more than 1,084 pounds of food the first week of the school year.

The food pantry also received monetary donations from the community and local businesses.

After 10 months of operation, not including June and July when the school was closed, McPheeters Bend Elementary distributed 523 backpacks.

Every child that is signed up to participate in the program receives a backpack on Friday with enough food to last through the weekend.

However, the donations have to keep coming in to keep the program afloat.

“We have been truly blessed to live in a community that demonstrates each and every day their commitment to helping others,” said program co-founder and reading interventionist Christina Bellamy.

The school is asking for donations of food items that children can prepare or warm up themselves in the microwave such as canned soup and pasta, SpaghettiOs, spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, small jars of peanut butter and jelly, mac and cheese, cereal, fruit cups, canned fruit, pudding and Jello cups, snack crackers, cookies, canned veggies, juice boxes and tuna packs.

Aside from food, the pantry is also stocked with basic toiletry items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc.

Donations can be dropped off anytime during the school day. McPheeters Bend Elementary is located at 1115 Goshen Valley Road just south of Church Hill. For more information, call the school at (423) 357-6822.