Fairfax County high school food pantry awarded for contribution to community


Parents at South Lakes High School know how hard it can be to feed a family, especially on a tight budget.

"We've got more than 700 students on free and reduced lunch and so we wanted to see if that was something we could do at South Lakes." Roberta Gosling told ABC7 News.

That something is the South Lakes High School PTSA Food Pantry. Since March of 2017 parents and students like Robert Atkinson have managed it as a way to serve families in need.

"They need food because they can't live without food. They can't live without it," Atkinson said.

The well-stocked shelves in the small space are the product of a community collaboration. Food drives, donations from a local farmers' market and grocery store, as well a heaping serving of student support.

"Not just stocking shelves but we also have students working on a spreadsheet that do the ins and outs of what goes out and what comes in," teacher Irvin Greene said.

There's even a student-run marketing campaign.

"It was Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Guerilla marketing, which is where we kind of attack people with ads," rising senior Chloe Khoshand said.

The students created signs and put them in the most unlikely places; from the bathroom to the ceiling to the floor. The campaign boosted traffic. Fifty-five families are now being served per week and the pantry recently won the "Best of Reston" award from the non-profit Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce.

"It's a very direct impact and it makes people feel really good," Gosling said.

Students at a nearby elementary school and middle school also use the South Lakes High food pantry.

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