EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

October 25, 2013

Timberlane students open a food shelf

Timberlane club opens a food shelf

By Alex Lippa
alippa@eagletribune.com

---- — PLAISTOW — Weekends can be tough for some students at Timberlane Regional High School.

Those students enjoy hot breakfasts and lunches during the school week, but weekends can leave them hungry.

Enter the Students of Service club and the school’s new food shelf.

The group raises money to provide food and other necessities to close to 150 families throughout the district who could use help around the holidays.

But while those families benefit from the Mealey’s Meals fundraiser during the holidays, the rest of the year is a struggle.

“We realized that we have a group of students at school that the only meals they eat are breakfast and lunch during the week at school,” club advisor Carolyn Morse said.

Students wanted to provide those students with meals throughout the year. Earlier this month, the students started the Owl’s Kitchen to help those students out for the entire school year.

“A lot of kids don’t have the means to go to a food pantry,” Morse said. “So, we said, ‘Why not just have one right here?’”

The Students of Service stock the pantry, which is located in a classroom at Timberlane, once a week. They fill backpacks with essentials and then Timberlane staff members hand them out on Fridays, to students to get them through the weekend.

“The cabinet will always be stocked for people who need it,” Morse said

Junior Moesha Murray is one of 12 students who stays after school to help out.

“Seeing other people who don’t have things is really tough,” Murray said. “I might have what I need, but it’s good to give back to society and help other people out.”

Mealey’s Meals, which was named for late Timberlane teacher William Mealey, serves students around the district.

But the food pantry is specifically for Timberlane High students. Morse said only seven students have taken advantage of the pantry in the first two weeks, but she said it could benefit many more.

“We think there’s closer to 50 kids who could use this,” Morse said. “We want students to want to come to us for help. We don’t want to see them have tough weekends.”

The group started asking for donations from the community earlier this month.

“We’ve already gotten macaroni and cheese, ramen, soup, cereal, oatmeal and a variety of other things,” Murray said.

The group is also collecting toiletries, detergent and other essential items.

Morse said the Timberlane football and cheerleading teams will be holding food drives next month to help fill the pantry.

“We’re really thankful that they are taking the opportunity to help their community out,” Morse said.

The Students of Service are also preparing for their annual Family Fall Festival tomorrow, starting at 11 a.m. There will be many vendors at the festival and activities for children. All proceeds will go toward Mealey’s Meals.