The SOCSD Food Pantry, which was launched at the Tappan Zee Educational Center two years ago in response to pandemic-driven need, has been relocated to Tappan Zee High School, where it will serve as a job site for TZHS COVE students.
“Thankfully, the number of South Orangetown families facing food insecurity declined sharply . However, our School Support Teams have reported rebounding need this school year, with roughly 35-40 families (representing approximately 170 children and adults) district-wide seeking help,” said Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services Karen Tesik, Ed.D. “At the same time, our COVE program at the high school has been challenged with securing community-based job sites for students. COVE students have already been working with Darrell Flynn and Business students to support Z-Mart and the Z-Box. Relocating the Food Pantry will further expand their in-house opportunities to develop job skills as they prepare to transition to post-secondary life.”
Under the new model, the Food Pantry will be open on the first Thursday of each month, 4-6PM, starting in December to collect donations of Stop & Shop gift cards and shelf-stable foods, such as pasta, rice, beans and canned fruits and vegetables. TZHS COVE students will stock shelves, manage inventory and pack bags for monthly distribution.
For November, those interested in donating to or hosting a drive for the Food Pantry may drop off donated items on Monday, November 14, 4-6PM, at the TZHS main entrance. A list of requested food items is posted on the Food Pantry webpage.
“We saw the opportunity to relocate the Food Pantry to TZHS as a win for all involved,” TZHS Principal Rudy Arietta explained. “We are able to provide the space for the pantry and our COVE students gain an additional job site where they can learn important skills while also providing a service to our community.”
Bags of supplemental food assistance will be delivered by volunteers to families in need on the third Thursday of each month.
One aspect of the initiative that has not changed? It remains a voluntary operation. “The Food Pantry will continue to rely on donations of food and gift cards to stock its shelves and staff, student and community volunteers to serve our neighbors in need. We are incredibly fortunate to have a community that comes together to help one another. We’ve already had a tremendous response from people who have re-committed to supporting this effort,” noted Tesik.
Families in need of assistance should email firstname.lastname@example.org.