Cross County School District is a recipient of a nearly $25,000 grant to administer an Emergency School Pantry and Food Box Program during the 2020-2021 school year.
The Emergency School Pantry and Food Box Program grant aims to give low income families with children additional food assistance. In Cherry Valley, it will provide food boxes for approximately 40 families each week. Cross County will be partnering with the Cherry Valley Food Pantry to distribute food purchased through the grant. “This program will maximize this existing partnership,” said elementary principal Jessica Stacy. “It will be extremely beneficial in ensuring that our students do not go without the necessary nutrition needed in order to grow and learn.”
Cross County School District’s participation in USDA Summer Meals and USDA Free and Reduced Lunch Programs qualified the district to apply for grant funding. The Cherry Valley Food Pantry has long standing partnerships with the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas and is ready to assist the district in establishing one special food box distribution a week to meet grant requirements. The district will have access to a $5000 food credit on top of the grant money awarded to purchase additional food. “Working in a small, rural school district has many advantages: everyone knows everyone, one gets to know the community, the families, and the needs of that community,” said high school principal Stephen Prince. “I know the Emergency School Pantry and Food Box Program will be a beneficial and much-needed addition to our local food pantry.”
Cross County is aware of the additional economic burden the COVID-19 Pandemic has placed on families and believes the Emergency School Pantry and Food Box Program is a necessary next step in helping the community. Superintendent Dr. Nathan Morris remarked, “Our students are looking to our school district for stability and to meet even their most basic needs of safety and food. I know this grant and our partnership with the Cherry Valley Food Pantry will maximize our ability to meet those needs.”
Food boxes through the Emergency School Pantry and Food Box Program will be available this fall. Community members interested in participating should watch for additional information in the coming weeks from the district on how to sign up for the program.