School Pantry Program
Updated: Aug 31, 2021
The White Pony Express (WPE) School Pantry Program is an easy-to-replicate model. A WPE School Pantry is like a grocery store at school, where hungry families can shop for fresh food free of charge with warm fellowship, recipe-sharing, and solidarity – no questions asked.
“Our students demonstrate a maturity and resilience to combat the unique obstacles they face. Many students come from single-parent households, poverty-stricken families, and are hungry as they make their way to school.” Principal, Riverview Middle School
White Pony Express Mission: To eliminate hunger and poverty by delivering the abundance all around us to those in need – with love.
How Does It Work?
WPE’s School Pantry delivers nutritious food twice a week to each of our twelve locations. We provide recipe books as well as educational materials on nutrition in both Spanish and English. Families from the schools, along with WPE volunteers, provide leadership and run the pantries, building community and a “circle of giving”. WPE’s unique program model has become a safe, stable source of fresh free food for many families in the County’s public schools. WPE partners with summer and after-school programs to ensure that kids have food during school breaks. We also provide back-to-school clothing and school supplies both seasonally and over the holidays.
“With a lot of schools closing, no school means no food.” Pastor, Palabra De Dios
How Does WPE Work?
For many students, school lunches are their only dependable daily meal. WPE established School Pantries at schools where 80% of children are on free or reduced-cost lunch programs. WPE school pantries serve children in working poor families with parents who often work multiple jobs yet still have a household income of less than $40,000 a year. Once open, a School Pantry serves all families with children at the school site. Families need not provide ID, proof of address, or paperwork to participate. Nor do they have to travel to receive food – the distributions are set up on-site at the schools or at nearby community centers in the summers, making it convenient and comfortable for parents to access food. Since the onset of the pandemic, our School Pantry programs had to evolve to meet the community’s needs.
Improved capacity to learn, improved school behavior, improved attendance, increased community participation, improved health and wellness, improved extracurricular engagement.