SHELLEY — For some students at Shelley High School, knowing when their next meal will be is a question they face every day.
Local mother Karrie Winder, and interim Shelley High School Principal Burke Davis are fighting this issue with a seemingly inexhaustible food locker entitled “Shelley Shares.”
“All of our educators could tell you stories that would bring tears to your eyes. It’s sad with some of these kids and what they have to deal with,” Burke says. “We don’t want anyone to go hungry.”
The grey metal locker/food pantry sits in a discreet location at the back of the high school with bold words in front that say “Shelley Shares.” Burke doesn’t wish for anyone with a need to feel embarrassed by taking from the locker, it’s just there to help he says.
“They don’t even have to come to us, the locker’s out there and it’s open 24 hours a day,” Karrie says.
She says the locker has all sorts of food including cold cereal, snacks, soups, rice, spaghetti– anything that can be made by adding water. There are also toiletries like deodorant, toothpaste and other bathroom necessities available.
Burke says the locker is primarily to serve the students at Shelley High School but may be used for others in the community who have a need.
“It’s not really for a specific scenario it’s just if a kid’s hungry we want (them) to be able to eat and not have to go without food. It’s really first and foremost for our kiddos,” Burke says.
Karrie has spearheaded the effort by gathering food and supplies from her immediate friends and neighbors. She says she got the idea after visiting Borah High School in Boise.
“I just kept getting this feeling like ‘Man we gotta be doing something for (the students).’ There’s got to be something out there that we can do,” Karrie says.
From there she contacted administrators in Boise to get an idea for how she could meet the needs of the Shelley students. She and Burke assessed the overall socio-economic standing of the students from viewing the percentage of students who take part in free and reduced lunch.
“We have a significant amount of students who fit in that range and so we know that they’re out there,” Burke says.
Soon they came to the conclusion that the food locker would be beneficial for the school.
“When it first started I just had groups of friends that I reached out to, just moms,” Karrie says. “It just snowballed.”
Karrie says finding the locker was a challenge, but faculty at another local school helped her secure one.
“It was easy to set it up,” Karrie says.
Karrie and Burke say many from the community have reached out to see how they can give to the Shelley Shares effort.
“As things go along I think we’ll have a better feel of what the needs are of the community and what people are using,” Burke says.
The locker will continue to stay stocked throughout the summer to help the students who need it. Several members of the community have committed to helping keep the locker full, but anyone can donate. People can come and fill the pantry at any time. The locker is located in the middle of the south parking lot near the school doors and remains unlocked.
“Right now we’re letting the community fill it,” Burke says. “The community has really taken a strong grasp and hold of this.”