Ending hunger one holiday at a time


Courtesy of Jess Buettner

Parkway Food Pantry Social Worker Jess Buettner delivers Thanksgiving items to families in need Nov.19. Approximately eight schools in the Parkway District rallied around to help with this event. “All the things that you think of in your normal thanksgiving dinner we include so that it’s a little less that families have to worry about,” Buettner said.

The Parkway Food Pantry hosted a “Stuff the Turkey” event Nov. 19 to create Thanksgiving bags for students and families in need.

“It’s an attempt by the Parkway School District food pantry to collect food, money, etcetera for those in our own district who might be in need of it,” Principal Jeremy Mitchell said.

The district wide event took place at the food pantry at Northeast Middle School and provided students and families a Thanksgiving dinner to eat over the holidays.

[Making] the holiday baskets is probably one of my favorite times because it allows us to interact with our families that we’re working with pretty much on a regular basis for a variety of different reasons,” District Social Worker Jess Buettner said. “It is a way to celebrate the holidays with them and to provide extra assistance. It helps alleviate financial burdens that some families might have to be able to allocate those resources towards something else, so I see this as such a great service that we’re able to provide to the families that we’re serving.”

The Parkway Food Pantry opened in 2017 and has served approximately 70 families through the Stuff the Turkey event.

“If schools are able to push doing the Stuff the Turkey event, on top of doing a canned food drive it is really helpful. Thanksgiving is definitely a big time that we hand food out, and then we turn around and have Christmas break after,” Buettner said. “Really being able to stock our pantry now is super helpful, getting as many items as possible to help restock our shelves, because we know that some families are really relying on that.” 

Allowing students and families to celebrate the holidays with all the traditional fixings, the Parkway Food Pantry continues to advocate for their goal to bring the community together.

“This was our effort to help alleviate hunger within the district, to further the social justice of food equity for students and families that are in our district,” Buettner said.