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Grand Haven's Central High School finds pantry shelves bare a month into the school year

By Jaleesa Irizarry/WZZM-TV • Oct 14, 2017 at 12:00 PM

It's an issue Central High School has quietly been tended to over the past 20 years, but now the growing issue of food insecurity has the staff at the Grand Haven school putting out a call for help.

About 225 students walk the halls of Central High School, but a number of them are doing it on an empty stomach.

"When it's several students, dozens of students, sometimes 20 students, who expressed concerns about long weekends and school holidays and stuff like that,” said math teacher Amy Stringham. “We realized that the need was greater than just the couple kids in first hour who came in late and didn't get breakfast."

It's a battle the Central High School employee has watched grow from a shelf in the teachers lounge into a full-fledged pantry. Just weeks after the school year started, the shelves went bare, causing Stringham to ask for help via social media.

"The need is immediate," she said. "If we're going to try to teach math and social studies, life skills and attendance, and they're coming here and they're just not ready to learn because of something outside out of their control, then we'd like to help."

The call for help was answered by people like John Siemion. The school board president donated $1,000 to the cause.

"To be honest with you, I didn't realize they had a pantry," he said. "When I heard about the need, I thought I had to jump into action."

Siemion wasn't the only one. Dozens of people came in bringing anything and everything they could.

"We just we can't thank them enough," Stringham said. "Their generosity just blows me away."

Stringham says the food and money donated will go a long way. This will allow them to make bigger meal bags for the students and their families for the long breaks.

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