Bruin’s pantry, closet provide resources for students

Bruins pantry, closet provide resources for students

Allie Pigg

Outreach Counselor Lesley Thalhuber stands by the food pantry in the Guidance Office that offers RBHS families in need with canned goods, cereals, and other snacks.
Outreach Counselor Lesley Thalhuber stands by the food pantry in the Guidance Office that offers RBHS families in need with canned goods, cereals, and other snacks.
Students no longer need to fret about if they will eat dinner or what they will wear to school the next day. There is a place in the Guidance Office to leave worries of sufficient resources behind. Bruin’s pantry and Bruin’s closet are RBHS programs working to ensure that every student can focus on school, despite problems they may face at home.  
“In elementary school and middle school, the Food Bank provides buddy packs for students to take home for the weekend in order to have additional food and snacks for sustenance if they are from a family that needs extra support/resources,” Outreach Counselor Lesley Thalhuber said. “This service is not provided at the high school level and instead, exists the school pantries as a way for students to get additional food in their homes when needed.”
Thalhuber said The Food Bank provides for and inspects the pantry once a year. In the pantry housed in the Guidance Office students can find essential foods including cereal, pasta, canned soups and vegetables and snacks. To have access to the pantry, students must briefly touch base with Thalhuber and talk with her about their resource needs.
“If they have a need for food pantry use, there may also be other needs and I can help connect them with other resources as well,” Thalhuber said.
Bruin’s pantry has been active for four school years, Director of Counseling Betsy Jones said, but only about 20 students regularly access it. There is always room for more to use, however, as it is restocked based on use and need.
RBHS’s other aiding program is called Bruin closet, which is a pantry for clothing for students who may need a clean outfit to wear to school. The parent-teacher-student association (PTSA) is responsible for recruiting volunteers to stock, sort, and maintain organization of the closet. Students can gain access to this closet by talking with their counselor or assistant principal, and can find clothing, shoes, and backpacks from parent, student and teacher donors.  
Although these Bruin’s closet and Bruin’s pantry have been up and running for several years, many students are unaware they exist. Junior Stephen Quakenbush, for example, did not know RBHS offered such programs, but he believes they are a great opportunity for all students.
“It seems like would allow to get resources if they aren’t as privileged at home,” Quakenbush said. “It also gives more fortunate kids the chance to give back to their classmates.”
The main purpose of these aiding programs is to ensure all students have the resources they need to be successful at RBHS.
“Some of our students have needs for resources such as food and clothing,” Thalhuber said. “We are proud that we have a way to serve those students in-house by stocking a pantry and clothes closet.”