WEST JORDAN, Utah — Growing support and generosity from the community is keeping 61 "Principal's Pantries" stocked, providing food and products to homeless and needy students in the Jordan School District.
With cheerleaders chanting, students filling the stands and players taking over the field, it was a typical night under Friday night lights at Copper Hills High School.
“The majority are thinking, ‘This is a great area,’ and it is, it is a wonderful area,” said Steven Hall, Director of the Jordan Education Foundation.
But when the bell rings at the end of the school day and the Friday night game comes to an end, many students face a bigger problem.
“Jordan School District, in our area of affluence, we have close to 2,000 what are considered ‘homeless’ kids,” Hall said. “Those homeless kids are hungry.”
And the lingering question, what will help them make it through to Monday?
Queue, the Principal's Pantry.
“This Principal Pantry here at Copper Hills is the Lamborghini,” Hall said as he showed Fox 13 cameras around the two-room space.
“This is everything that we can put into a pack for kids that go home on the weekends,” he said as he patted a large Ziplock bag filled with easy, ready-to-grab snacks and meals.
“You’ve got the soups, you’ve got milk, you’ve got fruit, you’ve got oatmeal,” Hall said as he pointed out the different items filling the bag.
“They’re not going to be hungry during the weekend,” Hall said with a grin.
The pantry acts as a one-stop-shop, ensuring every kid has food and then some.
“We have sleeping bags, we have shoes, there’s coats,” Hall said. “School supplies, back packs… if they need it, here it is!”
The Jordan Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that engages the community to provide resources for success in the Jordan School District, fuels a pantry at each of the district’s 61 schools. The foundation's efforts provide support for more than 54,000 students.
“When people find out they have needs, people are stepping up — whether it’s students, whether it’s businesses, whether it’s employees,” Hall said.
Recently, the organization has received an overwhelming amount of support from businesses and students.
“Kids make the biggest impact because they care,” Hall said.
Ian Clement, a 16-year-old at Bingham High School, is one of those kids.
“It’s so easy, practically anyone could do it,” Ian said.
Ian said his school completed a similar project, collecting items for underprivileged students. He then decided to take the idea and use it for a project of his own.
“It was amazing,” he said.
With donations from family, three days and a little help from his Boy Scout troop, Ian was able to build and donate more than 250 packs to help stock the pantries.
“I’m definitely proud of what I’ve been able to do,” Ian smiled.
Ian’s act of kindness is just one of many that are now part of a solution for thousands.
“We’re making an impact on kids, on families," Hall said. "We’re just trying to eliminate hunger one student at a time."
The program, giving kids a little bit of hope — from the classroom to the Friday night game and beyond.
“Humans helping humans be the best they can possibly be, that’s what it’s all about as far as we’re concerned,” Hall smiled.
The Jordan Education Foundation is always looking for donations to help stock the pantry, or monetary donations to help them buy supplies.
You can find more information on ways to get involved HERE.