Hunger Doesn’t Go on Vacation…GOPantry fills the need for local school children

by Julia Pile on April 8, 2015

Beth McIntire, Stephanie Fister, Laura Dunancic, and Julia Pile.

Beth McIntire, Stephanie Fister, Laura Dunancic, and Julia Pile.

It is 11:30 and almost lunch time.  You can tell because your stomach starts grumbling.  Unfortunately, you have meetings or commitments for the next two hours.  What happens next?  You start getting cranky, restless and loose concentration while you watch the hands of the clock tick away until you can finally get something to eat.

Now imagine this for a child who must go from lunchtime at school on Friday until Monday morning when they can rush into the cafeteria to finally eat some breakfast.  Every night and weekend there are a growing number of kids in Boone County, YES, Boone County, that go hungry every night and weekend.  What is even worse, when school is not in session during breaks or the summer, they do not have school meals to rely upon.

A group of moms in Union, Kentucky decided that it is unacceptable for children to go hungry and decided to do something about it.  GOPantry a mobile pantry that fills the gap for children relying on the school system for basic food needs was born.  The program started with just one school but is expanding as the organization is able to make the additional commitments.

Laura Dumancic, Stephanie Fister and Beth McIntre shared the story of GO Pantry with the Florence Rotary at their weekly meeting on March 16th.   The army of volunteers has grown over the past year as the need has.  Almost every week you can find volunteers at local organizations, schools and businesses running food drives for the weekly GOBags and GOBoxes distributions.

The GOBags are brown paper bags often decorated by local children which contain enough food for a child for the weekend.  The reaction from children when they receive their GOBags is one of excitement in that they will have something to eat during the weekend.  GOBoxes are a much larger effort in that they contain enough food for the entire family for the school break.  The amount of food needed for both efforts is large and local organizations such as Lifeline Ministries and MastersProvision often help.

Mrs. Dumancic spoke of the generosity and encouragement of local organizations helping them with the cause of feeding hungry children.  God will provide for those in need, and when the GOPantry wasn’t sure if they would have enough food for the next packing, God has provided from some of the most unlikely sources.

Many members of the Rotary community were moved by the group’s passion and commitment and when asked by Rotary President Adam Howard, how the Rotary may help, the response was a location to store food and space to provide the volunteers for packing the bags and boxes.  Currently, the entire operation is housed in Mrs. McIntre’s basement and the effort is outgrowing it quickly.   Please visit gopantry.org or their FB page to learn more about the organization or even better, sign up to help them help our kids.