LAKEVILLE, Minn. - In a dressing room where drama students get ready for their plays, Lakeville South High School also houses something intended to eliminate another drama that affects too many families, hunger.
"Especially with the recession and hard economic times this just became even more apparent," said junior Margaret Gadek.
A frequent volunteer at community food shelves, Gadek decided to push for a food shelf inside Lakeville South. "This seemed like a natural step to provide for the need with an even greater response."
One of Gadek's first steps? Enlisting the help of her friend, Maggie Murphy. "Margaret and I have known each other for ten years now," said Murphy, who is also president of the school's S.A.D.D. group, Students Against Destructive Decisions.
"In addition to being against bad decisions, we're also trying to encourage people to do positive things for the community," said Murphy.
She agreed to help out, and the students quickly got the school's activities director to sign on.
"We're slightly over ten percent of free and reduced lunch families here at Lakeville South," explained Neil Strader. "So you're talking almost two hundred families that can use that food shelf and use it consistently at all times."
Once the school identified a location to house the food shelf, the students staged a successful school wide food drive. Student Support Specialist Lisa Hansen says the community has been equally forthcoming.
"I get emails and phone calls every day, 'How can we support this, how can I donate?'" said Hansen.
Because hunger can remain hidden, Hansen sent emails to every family in the Lakeville South High School community. To maintain privacy, students take the food home in donated backpacks. Hansen and the S.A.D.D. students also pack grocery bags for families to pick up at their convenience.
Strader says Hansen's involvement, combined with the backing of student leaders throughout the school is the key to keeping the food shelf sustainable now and into the future.
"We're already identifying kids that are sophomores and juniors that we'll have next year to hopefully be able to continue a funnel of leaders that will help this thing go," Strader said.
Anyone who would like to donate to the Lakeville South High School food shelf can do so by contacting Lisa Hansen, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Copyright 2013 by KARE. All rights reserved.)