Special education students run food pantry to learn life skills and feed families

Published: Nov. 28, 2022 at 4:53 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Special education students in the College Community School District are running their school food pantry. It’s a way to learn life skills while helping to feed families in the process.

”The original intention was to get the kids out of the classroom” said Kara Beatty, Special Education teacher at Prairie High School.

Students in her class are getting a hands-on learning experience.

”I’ve learned how to organize and then help others with the job,” said Dakota Reynolds, a student.

They’re organizing, packing, and sorting to gain life and job skills they can carry into their future.

”Put the food in and put it in the box,” explained Gabby Kallas, a student.

The pantry started last January and now averages 40 boxes of food per week.

”Restock with like fruits, vegetables, cereal, oatmeal,” Kamryn Westphal said, a student.

The boxes go directly to feed families in the College Community School District, and that’s the students’ favorite part.

”I just want to help other families restock,” said Westphal.

”Just helping people,” added Jacob Collin, a student.

”I like it because I can help others get the food and help them get what they need,” said Reynolds.

”Pick up some goodies that people like,” added Nate Lemke, a student.

Their teacher says giving back is the cherry on top to the learning happening in the pantry.

”Hopefully once we gain the skills in here in the food pantry then we can take those out in the community and we can help our kids place with voc rehab or into actual jobs right in the community,” said Beatty.

Prairie families in need of food can sign up for a food box at https://forms.gle/xTfZhBAS9KpbysoH9 or by contacting their school counselor. Boxes are picked up on Thursdays from 4:15-6 p.m. behind the high school.