At Grayling High School, a group of students and staff are making a difference every day by collecting food for a pantry in their own building – helping the students that need it most.
The Supporting Our Students Committee and the GHS Student Senate established a food pantry to support disadvantaged students by keeping them fed – enabling them to focus on their education. But it couldn’t have happened without Teresa Bonamie, counseling office secretary and recent SOS advisor.
“With this new position she has created a committee of staff and students to start our Viking Pantry,” says Donna Boughner, GHS principal. “Now we have a fully stocked pantry that students are utilizing every week.”
The Viking Pantry contains non-perishable food items, hygiene products and household necessities, such as toilet paper, laundry detergent and dish soap. Students can place confidential orders on a weekly basis, no questions asked. The pantry is funded solely through fundraising efforts and donations from the community.
Led by Bonamie, the SOS committee began meeting in July and immediately made plans for fundraising, creating boxes to collect donations. These boxes were placed in convenient locations, including the football field concession stand, outside the gymnasium, auditorium and the front entrance of the school. Community members are also able to contribute using the boxes.
On October 1, the SOS committee held a community blitz to collect needed items for the pantry. Committee members and Student Senate volunteers solicited donations at Family Fare, Family Dollar and Kmart, all located in Grayling. The campaign netted several boxes of donated items, as well as cash to purchase items as needed. Just two days later the pantry officially opened.
In addition, Bonamie organized a food drive during the homecoming week, with each class competing to earn daily spirit competition points by bringing in non-perishable food items. Superintendent Joe Powers got the staff involved by pledging his own donation if the staff beat the students in collecting pantry items.
The food drive netted approximately 2,000 items for the pantry.
“Teresa cares so much for our students and works extra hours outside of her paid time,” says Boughner. “She has worked tirelessly to organize community food drives, fundraisers, policies and more.”
With Bonamie leading the charge, students at GHS are seeing the best example of what giving back can do for the community and their peers.