Walnut Creek Elementary opens food pantry for students

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When you enter the modified classroom dubbed Wildcat Station inside Walnut Creek Elementary School, you'll notice the way organizers arranged the contents to resemble a home. There are subtle touches, like the scent of fresh flowers, greeting visitors as they walk past the carefully arranged cans along with packages and boxes of food on shelves.

Nearby are neatly folded caps, scarves and other things students can use to stay warm, dry and comfortable as winter turns to spring.

"A lot of times our families may be in need," said school counselor Robiane Morgan. "They may be in transition, and so they may need clothing items. We will also provide a resource for parents. Say, for instance, someone needs some support, maybe they're doing job search. "

Those parents can use laptops organizers set up a few steps away from the food and clothing.

"So maybe they want to fill out a job application online and maybe don's have access to get to one. We will have that here at Walnut Creek," Morgan said.

Outside, the school has a small garden. When it's warmer, students and staff will grow produce there for all the people who come to the food pantry.

There's a standard size refrigerator already set up to keep perishables chilled. But the people behind Wildcat Station have their sights on a much bigger storage option.

"We do have a freezer on the way, so we will be able to provide not just fresh fruits and vegetables but meats for our families, as well," said Morgan.

Everything they showed visitors and our ABC11 camera on Saturday is in place now, thanks to the assistance and persistence of the YMCA of the Triangle.

Members of the Y's Bank of America Student Leaders Program spent weeks working to identify sources and sponsors willing to step up and do something about food insecurity in southeast Raleigh.

"It's just amazing to see the actual center set up. Because it's something we've worked on for such a long time, and even though it's taken a little longer than we thought it would, it makes it more rewarding to see. And I'm super excited for the community to get to come out, and use the center," said volunteer Kaitlyn Gosline, a Wake STEM Early College student.

It's open to parents who've been referred there on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 10 a.m. until noon.
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