Santa's Pantry Food Drive works to end student hunger over holiday break

    Voices for Schools members sort through non-perishable goods for the food drive (Credit: Briana Trusty)

    Winter break is a time that most students look forward to, but the holidays can mean hunger for kids who depend on free and reduced meals as their main source of nutrition.

    In order to combat the issue, Voices for Schools, a local group, is holding a food drive to make sure Savannah-Chatham students have plenty to eat this holiday season.

    Members spent Giving Tuesday giving their time to buy food for their 4th annual Santa's Pantry Food Drive.

    “There’s always, in the back of your mind, you always know that this is a need that is consistent and it lasts throughout the year," said Erin Roma, a Voices for Schools member and parent.

    “This is a need in our community, particularly during long breaks," said Roma. "We have a lot of families that have hunger.”

    The food from the drive, all of which is kid-friendly, will be packed for students to take home with them over the winter break.

    “Easy to prepare, but will also pack a good protein punch to get them through the day," said Roma.

    According to the Savannah Anti-Poverty Task Force, 66 percent of Savannah-Chatham students are economically disadvantaged, which means they might struggle over the holiday break. The majority of the bags packed will go to Title One schools in the area to help offset the meals students would receive during the year over winter break.

    “We call the schools directly, say, ‘How many bags of food do you think you would need to sustain your students over that break’ and we do our best to meet that number," said Roma.

    Last year, the group served about 900 students at 20 different schools.

    “It was a huge operation last year and we hope to have it be as big this year," said Roma.

    Those who rely on food drives like this are grateful for the support.

    “It means a lot," said one parent.

    “It keeps them fed and I think that’s one of the main, important things for a child to have something to eat," said Debbie King, the grandmother of a Savannah-Chatham student.

    Voices for Schools members will be passing out the packed up bags and boxes to schools on Dec. 16.

    You can find a list of food donation drop off points here.

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