For the holidays: another Edith Morgan story geared to our needy WPS students and families. This Christmas may be a good time to make a donation to the school’s food pantry! … And whatever you say about Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda (hire TEACHERS OF COLOR, Maureen! Flagg Street School has an all white teaching staff and student body!), she has done a lot at South High, at Burncoat, now for our entire school district, to alleviate poverty in our community. To help ALL poor WPS students and their families! Food pantries, gently used clothing stores, health centers, dental clinics, free washers and dryers – they are ALL IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS, throughout our city! These extras HELP ALL STUDENTS OF ALL COLORS! Let’s remember Maureen’s compassion and good works for WPS students. The times are a changin’- but we’ve got to appreciate her strong past!
– Rosalie T.
The Food Pantry at Burncoat Senior High School
By Edith Morgan
I went to Worcester’s Burncoat Senior High School, on Burncoat Street, this week to write about their food pantry (one of several in the city), I discovered that even here, in the heart of my neighborhood in the Lincoln/Burncoat area, hunger stalks homes and families.
And so, about three years ago,
the Burncoat Food Pantry was born:
I spoke with the school’s assistant principal and a guidance counselor
who filled me in about their activities to relieve hunger among some of their students. As a retired teacher, I know very well how hard it is to learn and concentrate on an empty stomach – and how much energy it takes just to get through the morn-ling till lunch time.
Like most of the food pantries
in Worcester, in churches, neigh-
borhood centers, and other schools,
Burncoat High School’s operates during school hours: as the big sign outside the school’s front entrance says, the pantry is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nonperishables, like canned goods and staples, can be donated during those times, and should be left inside the front door.
While Burncoat has a large percentage of students eligible for free and subsidized lunch, about 5% of the student body of around 1,000 is really suffering from hunger. It is these students who came to the attention of staff and counselors, and for whom the pantry was established.
On Fridays, they can select cans and staples to take home, from the rows of donated goods in the pantry.
In its first year, the pantry distributed 19 turkeys with all the
trimmings; the following year 36
bags were distributed; this year there will be 50 bags of turkey and other Thanksgiving goodies given out.Getting donations, doing all
the work to keep up this effort, is, according to school officials, a coordinated effort, with many generous people pitching in: Each school department is assigned items they are to contribute, and I was told of examples of different ideas being implemented for raising money and donations – and both staff members with whom I spoke repeatedly praised the great generosity of everyone in the community. Assumption College, some
local businesses, neighbors -everyone gives! The Language Honor Society, for example, held a food drive; Life Skills students help to organize the donated materials, etc. Cooperation among schools also was mentioned: Before establishing this pantry, Burncoat staff visited South High School, which also has a successful food pantry.
I came away from my visit to Burncoat High impressed with the caring atmosphere and the attention paid to the total student.
Anyone who lives in the area (or
anywhere around), is welcome to
contribute, or help out! Favorite
items for year-round needs are:
pasta, rice, beans, soups, and the
perennial favorites – PEANUT
BUTTER and JELLY.
♥️Vegan recipes – no animals harmed!♥️
This song exudes my old Worcester – the “ol’ neighborhood” guys – Worcesterites down to their long underwear and can of BUD! A Woo Classic, by Elliott Smith!: