A group of Boothbay Region High School students and staff, along with LincolnHealth employees, are working with the YMCA to help feed students. The group is collecting community donations dropped off at the YMCA to help stock the BRHS food closet.
The food closet was opened in 2015 to provide all students with extra resources. Students can find things like apples, granola bars, or other snacks and quick meals they can make at school or home. In addition, there are school supplies, as well as health products and household supplies including toothbrushes, deodorant and clothing.
“We have this option open that after school, or whenever you can, just go in there, grab whatever you need, and no questions asked,” Student Health Advisory Board President Ariel Alamo said. “I think it's a really good outlet for students to use who maybe don't want to speak up about having trouble at home or not having these resources available.”
Alamo said the closet helps provide for students with food insecurity, but it is available for everyone. She said anyone can go in, whether they get snacks before practice or just did not get enough for lunch. The closet is open after 1:30 p.m. to not conflict with school meal programs.
Alamo said an important part of the closet’s purpose is to be a school-wide resource and, because everyone uses it, there is no embarrassment or stigma for those in need. “It's everybody in the whole school just going in and out. So, there isn't really a stigma there because it's just so normal to see so many students going in and out of the closet,” she said.
It has been so successful, the closet is running low on supplies. So, the students are working with the YMCA to gather donations. BRHS Student Body President Colby Allen said he knows the community is generous and, if more people knew about the closet, they would give.
"We're open,” said Allen. “You can bring in donations. We have a group of people behind the (YMCA) front desk that will handle everything and everything will get dispersed."
Community members interested in donating can drop off water, non-perishable items, healthy snacks and quick meals at the YMCA front desk. For more information on donating, contact the BRHS LincolnHealth School-Based Health Center at 207-633-1934.