We all know the value of being fed. That is what our #RANoHungryChild campaign is all about. Having enough to eat is such a basic human need that we often do not think about what else that does for people beyond alleviating hunger. Especially with children, meeting their basic needs lays the groundwork for so much more — cognitive development, emotional growth, and overall mental health.
When Director of Operations Jennifer Willis-Rivera reached out to the Hi Liner Pantry at Valley City High School in Valley City, North Dakota, she had the opportunity to learn what these programs can accomplish. We are so pleased to be able to share their story with you.
Tabitha is a junior in our high school. She has had to step up and go out and live on her own at 17 years old, trying to work full time and go to school. She was very insecure, tired, and had no ambition to go to school. Her grades were not up to standard and she had a lot of absentee days.
That same year we opened our School Pantry, which was stocked with shelf stable foods, hygiene products and other supplies for students and their families in need. In our School Pantry, there are no income requirements for any needs. We are here to help in anyway and not to judge. We got her signed up to come in and shop for what she needed. She started getting a weekend backpack and in a short amount of time we could see some small changes in her personality. She became more outgoing, and she was coming to school more. She seemed to communicate more with teachers and staff, and after some months her grades started to come up.
During her senior year, she continued to use the pantry for weekend backpacks and became comfortable coming to us when something was needed. She was developing more school relationships and seemed to be excited to be there and to take more value from learning. She really had no ambition to go or do anything but try to get a job after high school, maybe because she couldn’t afford to go to school or felt she wasn’t good enough. She started working with the counselors a couple months before graduation about working on a way to start some college classes. She was so excited and we were so excited for her. It’s amazing what a little encouragement, nourishment, praise and just being there can do for these students. At the end of her senior year, Tabitha walked across the stage to get her diploma with her head held high and a smile on her face.
Lending A Hand
As part of our #RANoHungryChild initiative, Jennifer enlisted the help of local friend Jonna Reule. Jonna and her daughter purchased and delivered $500 of food to the Hi Liner Pantry. Jennifer also coordinated a monetary donation of $1,500 to help the Hi Liner continue their mission. All of us at Random Acts are so proud of Tabitha and wish her and everyone at Valley City High School all the best!
We have connected with so many wonderful organizations like the Hi Liner Pantry, who are making a real difference in the lives of the children and families they serve. Because of your generosity, you are helping make these people’s lives better. We invite you to read more about our #RANoHungryChild campaign and see how your kindness is making a difference in a practical way.