Seventy percent of students attending Thomas Jefferson High School in Council Bluffs receive free or reduced lunch. Many of those students worry when and how they'll get their next meal. Youth Emergency Services out of Omaha aims to change that.
Each Monday, the basement of Thomas Jefferson High School doubles as a food pantry.
Last year YES or Youth Emergency Services based in Omaha started bringing food, toiletries and clothing to two Council Bluffs schools.
“We understand that transportation is a huge barrier, especially in Council Bluffs, these kids aren’t able to get to us,” said YES Outreach Coordinator Shawn Miller.
It took a while to get the program started up this year at TJ, but it recently began again.
"I got me some soup, which is about to be my snack when I get home,” said Thomas Jefferson senior Shane Wingate.
For senior Shane Wingate, the pantry means he doesn’t have to worry about his next meal.
“I was pretty astonished, I was like wow I didn't think people would do this to help out the school,” said Wingate.
Wingate says the pantry also keeps him from having to beg.
“It makes you feel worthless and kind of not important,” said Wingate.
Shawn Miller and others with YES think that the 20 or so students who utilize the pantry are important and deserve the things some of us take for granted.
“These are young kids that need these items to go to school. They're going to eventually get jobs and they need to dress appropriately. They need to have the deodorant, they need tooth brushes,” said Miller.
Wingate says he looks forward to Mondays at school.
“It helps out four times a month. It really helps out with food and hygiene and clothes,” said Wingate.
The pantry relies on donations. If you would like to donate backpacks, clothing, food or toiletries they can be dropped off at YES near 26th and Harney.