Old rack finds new life as pantry for needy

Published 11:45 am Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Focus Class students at Nicholson Elementary found a creative way to address food security issues in Pearl River County by creating a free food pantry out of an old newspaper rack.

“We have certain outcomes for gifted education and creative problem solving is one of them,” said Nicholson Elementary gifted teacher Maureen Pollitz.

The students chose to solve community hunger with a free pantry box as part of their creative problem-solving project. Pollitz said that the student’s purpose in the project was to  give people a way to either donate to those who need it, and allow those who are in need to access the pantry at any time.

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“Their concern was the homeless and they wanted to do something for them. But it wasn’t just for the homeless it ended up being something for the community and what we can do for them,” said Pollitz.

The students discovered they could convert an old newspaper rack into a pantry box. The students converted the box to open freely and painted it blue with their handprints on the box.

“That was the main thing, they wanted to help the community in some way that they could do themselves,” said Pollitz.

The pantry has been in place for a week at New Life Baptist Church in Nicholson on Jackson Landing Road. Pollitz says residents have already been using the box.

Residents are allowed to place non-perishable foods in the pantry that have not passed the expiration date. Non-perishable items include canned foods, rice, dry beans and dried fruits and vegetables.

“You give what you would want for yourself,” said Pollitz.

Pollitz said the students were very excited about this project and how it turned out.

“They loved designing it and the painting of it and it made them feel good that they were doing something for their own community,” she said.

Now retired from teaching, Pollitz said projects like this one allow the student to become aware of the problems in their community and gives them the opportunity to make a difference.