Breakfast bars and baby wipes: The Pathfinder’s food drive begins


Elle Rotter

Packaging four containers of curry per bag, senior and Parkway Food Pantry volunteer Kailey Hartle helps with the food pantry’s distribution every month. Hartle was grateful for the leadership skills she learned through working with the food pantry for a year. “It feels like I have the most direct impact. I am helping families that have enough food to make it through the month,” Hartle said.

As the holiday of gratitude approaches, many people begin to ponder what they are thankful for: a roof overhead, food on the table and a warm place to hide from the harsh temperatures of winter. But what about those who don’t have these luxuries?

With homelessness continuing to rise after the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of families going hungry increased. More than half of Americans worried about going hungry in 2021, rising 8% from 2020.

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week starts just before Thanksgiving, lasting from Nov. 12 to 20. By participating in this movement, The Pathfinder aims to raise awareness for and strengthen the national movement to end homelessness and poverty in communities across the country. This national week inspires over 700 communities, faith-based groups, colleges and high schools across the country annually to volunteer, donate and educate about hunger and homelessness.

The Pathfinder product drive is looking for breakfast item donations for the Parkway Food Pantry. Students should drop off donations to their favorite English teacher’s classrooms.
(Elle Rotter)

Fifty-three million people across the United States rely on a local food bank to get themselves through each month, receiving help from one of the 60,000 food pantries associated with the Feeding America program. In fact, the Parkway Food Pantry celebrated its fifth anniversary on Oct. 3. They continue to look for donations to help feed and care for families in the Parkway School District. 

Students may not realize that over 150 families in the Parkway School District rely on the Parkway Food Pantry on a month-to-month basis. As a staff, this is a topic that we are very passionate about; just donating to a local food pantry makes a difference.

To serve the community, the Pathfinder is hosting a product drive for the Parkway Food Pantry starting Monday, Nov. 14 -21. The Parkway Food Pantry has requested breakfast and personal care items, including cereal, oatmeal, period products, deodorant, shampoo and baby wipes. 

“[The food pantry has] a budget to buy meat and other limited items, but we rely on donations. The more donations we have, the more extra stuff we can give [families in need,] which benefits them more and makes it, so they have to buy less and less food themselves,” senior and Parkway Food Pantry volunteer Kailey Hartle said. 

For those unable to participate in the product drive or those who would like to show extra support, there are various homeless organizations and food banks that need volunteers this winter. Organizations like Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Queen of Peace and The National Coalition for the Homeless Habitat for Humanity are locations that need volunteers specific to the St. Louis community. (Elle Rotter)

Pathfinder staff members will be collecting donations, dividing them into boxes and packaging them for Parkway families that need extra support through winter break. The Pathfinder goal is to collect 1,050 breakfast and personal care items to give to needy families.

Students who donate should drop donations at their favorite English teacher’s classroom. Teachers and parents are also encouraged to donate at the bins located in the front office or elect to contribute to a specific teacher. The breaking news section of the Pathfinder website will be updated daily with the number of items each English teacher collected. 

Help make a difference this winter by donating to Nov. 14 – Nov. 21 product drive. 

It’s important for the community to be involved. Even the smallest donation can help,” Hartle said. “[We often] don’t see what’s happening and think it doesn’t exist within our community. So having that experience [shows that] this still very much exists, even though we go to a very privileged school.”