Last week, the West Suburban Community Pantry opened its first in-school pantry at Irene King Elementary School in Romeoville.
The pantry opened Thursday and is available to Irene King families Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., providing fresh meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, fruit and vegetables, in addition to a selection of shelf-stable dry goods, according to a news release.
“Our buildings are meant to be centers for the community,” Valley View School District 365U community outreach coordinator Kathleen Batistich said in a news release. “Educational success doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Having this pantry in the school is part of our commitment to partnerships that remove barriers to learning by promoting healthy families and a healthy community.”
The pantry is funded by founding private donors Barbara Gulick and the Ronald L. McDaniel Foundation.
“I’ve always had a strongly held belief that no child should go hungry or go to bed with an empty stomach,” Gulick said. “As a board member of WSCP, when I learned of this school with a high need and limited access to food, I knew I had to do something.”
The West Suburban Community Pantry started in Woodridge but has since expanded to Bolingbrook, Lisle, Southeast Naperville, Downers Grove, Darien, Willowbrook and Westmont.
Local officials attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.