Lending a helping hand

NPHS hosts mobile food pantry

Aspen Nelson
Junior Josie Freeze helps a family get food at the mobile food pantry on Feb. 11. Freeze said, “To be able to put a smile on someone’s face and make there day while providing food for them and their family with a weeks worth of food is something I live for.” The mobile food pantries are every second Tuesday of the month.

[su_dropcap style=”simple” size=”5″]W[/su_dropcap]hile most NPHS students left the school for the day, hungry families lined up on the sidewalk to get free food. Over 1,500 people have received food since the high school started the mobile food pantry. 240 hours total have been put in by volunteers to make this happen. 

TeamMates Coordinator Molly Morales and Student Services Coordinator Brandy Buscher have worked together to host three mobile food pantries at NPHS for the community. The food pantries supply free food for the month for families in need. They started in Dec. 2019 and are held on the second Tuesday of the month. 

The NPHS has a food pantry to supply bags of food to send home each week with students that need it. Morales said, “We’ve seen a rise in the numbers as far as kids using our food pantry here at the high school.” This helped to give Morales the inspiration for the mobile food bank. 

Morales works closely with the Food Bank of the Heartland and they donate all of the food. “We don’t pay for the mobile food pantry at all,” she said. 

Aspen Nelson
NPHS students and staff help families get food at the mobile food pantry on Feb. 11. “It makes me feel good knowing I can help our community out by giving back,” said junior Brooklyn Douglas. All of the food is donated by Food Bank of the Heartland.

The food pantry is for anyone that needs it. It is just a short wait in line to get your food and very few questions asked. “You don’t have to give us information other than how many people live in your household and what their ages are,” said Morales. “We don’t take your name. We don’t take anything from you.”

Volunteers have helped out for over 80 hours each month. “The National Honor Society kids have been amazing at helping the people get their food and get it to their vehicles,” said Morales. “We also have kids from the college, local church groups, and just employees of North Platte Public Schools that come and help.” According to Morales, it wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers. “It’s a team effort, everybody works together and gets it done,” she said. 

Freshman Trenton Strodtman has volunteered at the mobile food pantry since it started. Strodtman said at the start it was very chaotic but he got the hang of it. “People are brought in and asked simple questions,” Strodtman said. “I’m at the side waiting for them and we go through the line and put food in the wagon and walk it to their cars.” 

Strodtman volunteers for fun, and to help give back to the community, and he feels that everyone should. “The first day was on my birthday and I was like why not give back on my birthday,” said Strodtman. “I was happy that I was giving back.”  

The first day was on my birthday and I was like why not give back on my birthday”

— Trenton Strodtman

North Platte is the farthest town west that holds a mobile food bank, with Lexington being the next. Lexington serves about 400 families, and Morales hopes to grow and help serve just as many. “It’s just a matter of getting the word out there and once people see the good things that we’re doing here hopefully more people start to show up,” said Morales. 

Morales did this for the community and NPHS students to provide food to put on their tables, but she couldn’t do it without all of the volunteers. “Once they [volunteers] started doing it I think they were grateful,” Morales said. “To me, it’s very fulfilling.”