We love young people here at Damien’s Food Pantry! Many Saturdays throughout Covid, students from ORR in Mattapoisett could be found loading carriages, loading boxes, serving clients and other tasks to help serve those in need. So many of our donations come from food drives that Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts or Church Youth Groups have put together. We couldn’t do it without the help of these kids and we are very grateful!
One student in particular has made quite the impression on us and her name is Autumn Tilley. She is a junior at ORR and Autumn was concerned about the fact that it is a state law to make everyone take a milk even if they do not intend to drink it. She hated all the waste she saw every day and wanted to do something about it. Autumn called me here at the pantry to discuss what could be done. We discussed the need to keep the milks refrigerated and a schedule in order to get the milks distributed before their due dates. She also worked with the cafeteria staff to ensure she could keep the milks in their refrigerators while she was in class.
When everything was in place, she set out coolers in the cafeteria for the students to contribute to. Both of us wondered if we would end up with someone fooling around and dumping in open milks or whether the kids would even bother! But, not surprisingly, the kids all stepped up and we get over 500 cartons each week from the high school alone! The kids even throw in a piece of fruit now and then rather than throw it away. They all know they are helping feed people through helping Damien’s Food Pantry.
Autumn’s mom, Gina, is a teacher in town and she has been very helpful in transporting and delivering the milks each week. The milks are bagged into groups of 6 and given out to our clients here at the pantry. Ironically, there have been a few weeks when we were unable to get milk to distribute from our regular source, so Autumn’s milk donation was a welcome surprise!
It’s such a shame that so much milk is being wasted in EVERY school across the country! Hopefully if those schools and towns have kids like Autumn in them, then the milks won’t go to waste for long! Autumn and her schoolmates have done a great job of helping a lot of families and I love the fact that she took the initiative to start this project! I hope it inspires other kids to start to do something about an issue that bothers them because that’s the only way they will see change. We thank Autumn, Gina and the ORR cafeteria staff and look forward to working with them again in the fall!!
-Be the change you wish to see!!