First Middle School Pantry to Open at Ligon Middle School

Ligon Middle School in Wake County has established the first Junior Food Ark, a student-led club that supports reducing hunger and fighting food insecurity. In partnership with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, students will collaborate to cultivate advocacy skills and develop a more comprehensive approach to help families who face food insecurity. Ribbon cutting for the Ligon Middle School Food Ark Pantry is Wednesday, March 28, 4:00-5:30 in the Media Center. North Carolina’s First Lady Kristin Cooper will be in attendance.

The Ligon PTA developed a solution to empower students to make their own choices and learn skills to promote healthy eating. The Enloe High School Food Ark, the first established in the area, offered Ligon the opportunity to start a Food Ark Junior with a grant of $1500. Ligon’s pantry will include food, as well as hygiene products and school supplies to offer a more comprehensive assortment of items to support student needs. “Support from the Food Ark will be another catalyst for providing wraparound services to our school community, particularly those who may experience food insecurities. It is certainly difficult to learn if you are hungry,” explains Ligon Principal Gretta Dula.

 The West Johnston Food Pantry is a student-led non-profit, which is run out of the West Johnston High School. The pantry serves families in need of food in the Cleveland township area. (Photo by Sara D. Davis)

North Carolina ranks among the states with the highest percentages of children under age 18 who are food insecure; almost one in three children in Wake County lacks food on a regular basis. Approximately 37 percent of students receive free or reduced price meals at school. Poverty is a key indicator of childhood trauma so focusing on access to healthy food will help nourish the minds and bodies of students. Ligon eighth grader Nora Hicks is active with the Food Ark because, “America has so much food waste, yet there are still people in the US who are unable to get proper nutrition or food at all. Food Ark helps cut down on food insecurity and can help inform the community.”

“The establishment of the Ligon Food Ark pantry would not have been possible without the support of the Ligon Staff, PTA, Enloe’s and Ligon’s Food Ad rk students, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, and WCPSS Maintenance Department. This moment of time will forever be remembered as one of  Ligon’s greatest accomplishments,” remarks Ligon Social Worker Tanyetta Sutton.

About Food Ark:

The Food Ark is a student-led 501c3 non-profit in the Triangle area. Its mission is to support efforts to reduce food insecurity through activities like school gardens, food drives, fundraisers, and community outreach. The club includes over 400 students in seven high schools and one middle school.

Ligon's Bolt for the Blue 5K and Health Fair to benefit the Ligon Food Ark is April 29 2:00-5:00 at Ligon Middle School at the Haywood Street  entrance. Information, sponsorship opportunities, and  registration are at boltfortheblue.com.