Gray’s Creek High School has teamed up with two community service organizations to reopen its “Bear Necessities” food pantry.
The school, whose mascot is the Bears, was approached by Second Harvest Food Bank and the N.C. Community Action Association about relaunching the pantry, which first opened several years ago, according to a Cumberland County Schools news release.
The pantry will provide food, personal-care items and household cleaning supplies to students and families in the Gray’s Creek attendance area who are in need, the release said. The long-term goal is to serve families in other attendance areas.
At a ribbon-cutting last Thursday, Vanessa Wade, a social worker at Gray’s Creek, said the community organizations provided donations to relaunch Bear Necessities this school year, the release said.
Organizers say they hope students will be able to easily drop by the food pantry and pick up items they need.
“I am most excited about being able to provide food for the kids who are food-insecure,” said Allison McDonald, also a social worker at Gray’s Creek, who noted that some students struggle to find food when school is not in session.
Gray’s Creek students played an important role in helping get the food pantry up and running again, the release said.
“We couldn't have done it without the students here,” said Shana Matthews, adviser to the school’s chapter of the National Honor Society. “There has been a lot of hard work in clearing out this room and getting these shelves up.”
Chloe Fontain, a sophomore, said the project inspires Bear pride.
“I am very excited, and I am happy that people will get to eat,” she said. “They’ll get to have meals and smaller conveniences such as snacks if they don’t have them at home. You can pop in here, get what you need and leave.”
This collaboration aligns with the district's Strategic Priority 4, Committed Community, which aims to build community partnerships to increase school system offerings and build student success.
In recent weeks, a similar food pantry was set up at Alger B. Wilkins High School, according to the news release.