How might we create an accepting environment that empowers young adults who face food insecurity?
One Stone team members from Project Recharge spent nine months delving into the issue of hunger in the United States—meeting with various experts, including the Idaho Food Bank, about the significant impact that hunger has on members of our community.
During their research, the group discovered that a popular program that feeds elementary school students is discontinued when students move on to junior high—causing a substantial and largely “unseen” hunger problem for young teens trying to focus and succeed in school.
The group surveyed 29 teachers and counselors who described their hungry students as often seeming “agitated, unfocused, lethargic, distracted, sad, angry, and apathetic.”
More than half the teachers admitted to providing some type of food assistance to their students experiencing food insecurity because, as one teacher insisted, “Children cannot learn if they are hungry.”
Working with the Idaho Food Bank, the One Stone team decided to create and design a food pantry at North Junior High—a project they hoped would make a substantial change in the daily lives of hungry students. Most importantly, it could be an empowering place to visit- removing the stigma that hungry students may feel about their food insecurity.
Using a spare room on North’s second floor (previously used as a holding space for unused books and electronic equipment), the Recharge group chose energizing colors of red, yellow and turquoise to design the space and painted empowering words on the walls to create an uplifting environment. The group then initiated a food drive to fully stock this new and empowering resource for hungry young teens.
“We knew the space could be used for something better. It was the perfect space, the perfect size. So, we got to work.”
– Mikaela, Sophomore, Homeschooled
“It was so fun to see that transformation- to know that we had put in the work to do it was awesome.”
– Cheyenne, Sophomore, Boise High School
“Wow, this is truly amazing- the level of caring and compassion the One Stone team put into this project. It’s heartwarming to know that the youth in our community have this level of interest in helping others, and want to put it into action. I’m overwhelmed with respect and gratitude for their efforts. Thank you, and please thank the One Stone team for allowing us to be a part of this. It’s something to celebrate!”
– Karen Vauk, President & CEO, Idaho Food Bank
“I definitely feel the Recharge Food Pantry has been successful and that we have a great start on a resource that will be utilized and appreciated! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
– North Junior High School Counselor