Feeding more than minds

Hannah Cuevas and Isabella Flores (right), members of the National Honor Society, help straighten the food pantry at Jones High. The pantry, which contains more than just food, is open to anyone at the school.

BEEVILLE – The honor students of Jones High are ensuring that no student goes hungry.

A pantry, stocked with snacks and easy to prepare meals, is available to all students and even teachers.

This food is also available to students who need something after school.

It all began earlier this year thanks to the students of the National Honor Society.

“We had a competition to see which class could raise the most food items,” said Isabella Flores, a senior and president of the society. From there, the pantry grew.

This isn’t the first year that Flores had proposed the idea.

“Last year, as members of the National Honor Society, we were given the idea for committee projects,” Flores said. 

Ultimately, the students decided to raise money for the Court Appointed Special Advocate project.

This year, with Flores as president, the students agreed the pantry would be the group’s project.

“This year I made sure we did it,” Flores said with a smile.

The project moved quickly as students began bringing in canned goods, snacks and food supplies.

A $500 donation from Urbana Chappa Lawrence, an alumna of the school, helped obtain more food and feminine supplies for the room.

“We had a few things, but now it is full,” Flores said.

By November, the pantry would open its doors inside an area of the counselor’s office.

What Flores and the others found out was that this location was far from ideal.

So, room was made in a storage area of the nurse’s office.

“People can go into the nurse’s office and nobody has to know why they are going in there,” Flores said. This bit of anonymity makes it more comfortable for students.

The increased use also means this pantry will need constant supplies.

“Chapa said that if we needed more clothing or food items and we didn’t have donations, she would give us more money,” said Hannah Cuevas, a senior and society historian.

Both know that she cannot be the only one offering donations to keep this pantry open.

“This is something that will be here long after we leave,” Flores said. 

To keep things simple, no questions are asked of students getting food. 

“It is open to anyone,” Cuevas said.

“It is for anyone who comes on this campus and is in need,” Flores said. “Even if someone just needs a snack, they can come here and grab it.”

The school does offer free breakfast and lunches to all students so this offers a supplement to that or an evening meal.

The two spent time before Christmas straightening the boxes of food and restocking shelves.

“I bought a bunch of those boxes of pasta in case anyone needs something for dinner,” Cuevas said.

With such a variety of food, it was also necessary to include a microwave.

“This has grown way beyond what we expected,” Flores said.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5221, or at media@mySouTex.com.