Principal’s Pantry program feeds Jordan School District kids with help from community

WEST JORDAN, Utah -- Several schools in the Jordan School District are fighting childhood hunger head-on with a unique pantry in the principal’s office, but they can't keep the program going without help.

"We all know the term 'hangry,’” said Mandy Thurman, principal at Oquirrh Elementary School. “Kids are no different."

You won't find too many hungry students at Oquirrh Elementary School. That's because the Principal's Pantry provides food for children in need.

"We do a lot of macaroni and cheese, fruit snacks, fruit roll ups, nuts, trail mixes, all of that type of stuff that won’t go bad for the students,” Thurman said.

The school started the program to help children focus in school.

“You know, our school programs provide breakfast and lunch for students, but if they are not eating at home they come to school hungry, and their brains aren’t working,” Thurman said.

But the school can't keep the pantry stocked without donations. That's where Mountain America Credit Union comes in. This week they brought in nearly $500 worth of food.

“If we can help provide a way for them to have some nourishment and a way to help them learn more and be excited about education, then that's great,” said Bryan Packer with Mountain America Credit Union. “It's gonna help them in the future.”

Mountain America also donated $5,000 to the Jordan Education Foundation to help other schools in the district.

“We’re always looking for ways of that we can help serve in the community,” Packer said.

School administrators hope to keep the pantry going for a long time, but they can't do it alone.

"The saddest thing for me in my job is to see a student being sent to the office—maybe they’re being disruptive in class, or maybe they're falling asleep, or they're just not themselves—and when I start talking to the child and start asking them what’s going on, you know, ‘Why are we having problems today?’ And they tell me they’re hungry.”

The Principal’s Pantry is funded by the Jordan Education Foundation, learn more about their efforts or make a contribution by clicking here.