In an effort to reduce hunger among students in the communities it serves, Stop & Shop — a neighborhood grocer for more than 100 years — recently donated $10,000 to help launch an in-school food pantry at P.S./M.S. 105, The Bay School, in Far Rockaway.
Nearly 80 percent of the students at the school are classified as living below the poverty level and school officials say about 70 families are new to the school and are either living with extended family, friends or in family shelters and need food and personal hygiene products.
“We have established a food pantry in the school building that will give families in need access to the assistance they require,” P.S./M.S. 105 Student and Temporary Housing Coordinator Benham Nadjmabadi said. “Through Stop & Shop’s generosity, we will be able to provide families in need with canned foods, dry goods, non-perishables and microwavable foods since those living in family shelters do not have access to stoves. For families with refrigerators, we will be able to offer milk and eggs. We will also be able to provide them with soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, shampoo and sanitary items.”
Stop & Shop has provided the school with $10,000 worth of gift cards so they can shop for the specific products that families have identified they need the most. Nadjmabadi and other school personnel will use the gift cards to purchase the products at area Stop & Shop stores to stock the school’s food pantry.
“Stop & Shop is so pleased to be able to assist the educators at P.S./M.S. 105 and provide its students and their families with food,” Stop & Shop District Director for New York City Carlos Ramos said. “A student cannot succeed in the classroom if they come to school hungry and need to worry about where their next meal is coming from.”
P.S./M.S. 105 marks the first Stop & Shop school food pantry in New York. The company hopes to work with more schools in the future.
“Stop & Shop’s generosity is greatly appreciated,” P.S./M.S. 105 Principal Laurie Shapiro said. “Many of our students and their families are food insecure and Stop & Shop’s leadership makes it possible for our school to provide them with the assistance they need in a very respectful way.”
State Senator James Sanders Jr. added that a well-fed body leads to a well-fed mind.
Our students need the proper nutrition in order to maximize their learning potential, and no one should be left to go hungry. These are just two of the many reasons why this program is so important,” Sanders said. “Thank you to Stop & Shop for its generous donation which has made this program possible. It is always great to see the local businesses working with the community to bring healthier food to the schools and we want to do more of that.”
The Educational Council President of CEC 27, Willie A. Jones Sr., added his thanks.
“It gives me great pleasure to know that as one of the most prominent businesses in our community, Stop & Shop would take such interest in the well-being of our students. This has an effect on each and every student who cannot get enough nourishment to sustain their health, nutrition, and their ability to focus,” Jones said. “I pray other businesses in our community decide to follow your example of humanitarian outreach to those who are in need. May God bless Stop & Shop for what it is doing in our community.”