The Homer Community Food Pantry has devised a way to give teens in Homer access to healthy food. They coordinate with local students to have bags of non-perishable food sitting by the door at Homer High School, Homer Flex School and West Homer Elementary. Kids who have a need can just pick up a bag on their way out the door, but what happens when school is out?
Cinda Martin is on the board of directors at the food pantry. She says the project was working, but one crucial element was missing.
"We were making deliveries at the high school – it was going great, but we couldn’t get to the younger kids. Then, all of a sudden, Laura Peek reaches out - the nurse at West Homer and she said Claudia says that she can help us through the summer. Because that’s what we were just needing, just those contacts. Because getting the food is easy. It’s just getting to the kids that’s the hard part,” Martin said.
Claudia, is Claudia Haines, Youth Services Librarian at Homer Public Library. As she takes ramen, peanut butter, tortillias, energy bars, a bag of oatmeal and more, out of a tote bag to show the contents of a typical bag, she says Food for Teens is a perfect fit for the library.
“It is a unique place in Homer because you don’t need to buy anything to come in the door,” says Haines,” You don’t need to be a particular age or be from a particular segment of the community. Anybody can walk in the door so it’s a great distribution point beyond what the food pantry offers on Monday.”
Expanding the program means spending more money and Food for Teens just got an
infusion of cash in June at the quarterly meeting of the local chapter of 100 Women Who Care. That’s 100 women in the Homer area who commit to donating one hundred dollars, four times a year. At the quarterly meeting, three of the 100 women are picked at random to make a 5-minute presentation, advocating for funding for a local organization. The group then chooses one of the organizations
and presents them with one hundred dollars from every woman in the chapter of Homer’s 100 Women Who Care. Cinda Martin made the presentation for Food For Teens.
“And I just knew it was my time," said Martin, "I went to my quarterly meeting and sure enough my name got drawn. I did my pitch. Everybody gets a vote. We’ve collected, I believe, somewhere in the $8,000 range but it will probably be about $10,000.”
Haines says the program has been successful and that anyone with a need, regardless of age is welcome to the food bags at the library.
“I think we’ve probably given out, since the end of May close to 30 bags – very kid friendly food. It’s not just candy bars and granola bars, you know, it’s food that will help sustain them but is easy to make, “ said Haines.
The Homer Public Library is open Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m. They close at 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays – and at 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.