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Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market has opened its first food bank in a public high school. Hope High School in Providence, R.I. is home to the food depository. The idea came from a conversation between a marketing representative for Whole Foods and two teachers from Hope.
Chelsea Barton-Karnes, of Whole Foods, approached the school about displaying student work at the Waterman Street store in Providence. The teachers at Hope mentioned that the school has many children whose families are struggling to make ends meet. "We need to do something about this," Barton-Karnes said, and the idea for a food pantry was born.
School guidance counselors are charged with identifying which teenagers come from money-strapped homes. Twice a week, teachers from Hope pick up boxes of mostly non-perishable food items that are then distributed to about 20 teenagers in innocuous-looking backpacks.
A dozen special needs students, who painted the storage room, built and stocked the shelves and packed the bags, will manage the food pantry.