Gaston Middle School fighting hunger on campus with food pantry

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Take a look inside Gaston Middle School's Food Pantry and it looks like any other hallway on campus, but open the cabinets and you'll see that's it's much more. It's one of only two in all of Fresno Unified.

"We want to make sure our students have the right resources not just education resources, but resources like this that will help them," said Lisa Nichols, Gaston Middle School Vice Principal.

Shelves are stocked with beans, canned food and toiletries, all funded by a grant through the Central California Food Bank. Once a month they'll hand out bags of food to students. Families of four or more can pick up two. Nichols said if a student is in need, they can get food sooner.

"We have students that come from home situations where they may not have food in the home or they come to school and they are missing a meal," she said. "We want to be able to be a part of creating healthy families and healthy students."

The pantry is run by students, like seventh grader Aryianna Baity, she's a food pantry assistant. She helps stock shelves, bag food and everything in between

"Unpack food, we recently packed food yesterday," said Baity. "We choose what food goes in each bag."

She had to apply and then interview for the position. In the end, she'll earn a letter of recommendation for her work, but that wasn't Baity's motivation.

"It makes me feel like I can do something different, like help people besides just knowing that something is wrong and you just sit there," she said.

The grant will only stock their shelves for a year, afterwards, it's up to the school to sustain the program. Now they're on the lookout for that help. Gaston's first distribution is this Friday.
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