Atchison Childcare representatives visit the AHS Campus Cupboard to drop goods collected from a recent food drive.

Fresh fruits and vegetables have been made available youngsters and their families for the time being courtesy of the United States Department of Agriculture.

The USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program is providing varieties of fresh produce by the box load once a week for the time being. USD 409 staff distributes the goods each Wednesday during the grab and go free lunch distributions for youngsters at Atchison Elementary School and at LFM Park.

Food distributions from the Atchison High School Campus Cupboard has wrapped up its inaugural year with more than 5,000 pounds of food mostly donated from within the community to offer AHS students and their family an edge against hunger. Although closed this summer, plans are underway to re-open the AHS Campus Cupboard for fall.

AHS Science Teacher Sarah Tschauder, a lead organizer, of the Campus Cupboard, recently offered USD 409 Board of Education members an updated on the initiative. Tschauder said the need for such an endeavor arose after it became noticeable that teachers were purchasing snacks for students. The Campus Cupboard was launched in March 2019 made possible from a generous donation from UMB Bank to Second Harvest Community Food Bank. The initial donation of $4,000 and a few others in lesser amounts kept the cupboard stocked to allow students to bring home for weekends enough basic non-perishable food items for four meals until the end of the 2018-19 school year.

“It’s open and available for any student enrolled at Atchison High School,” Tschauder said of the initiative to fight hunger in the community.

For the 2019-20 school year donations and food drive contributions have numbered more than 30 from individuals, service clubs and organizations and businesses increased to make food available throughout the end of the schoolyear. Atchison Middle School, Maur Hill Mount Academy and Atchison Childcare contributed to the cause by way of organized food drives.

“Even throughout the disruption,” Tschauder said of the service that continued to fulfill the need despite the interruption of traditional classroom learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the disruption Tschauder, Lynne Ball, a fellow AHS teacher, and Ball’s husband Don were among the volunteers to load up the goods from the cupboard distribute the items from the flagpole in front of AHS throughout the Continuous Learning Process.

Donations are accepted throughout the year for the AHS Campus Cupboard. To do so, monetary donations can be brought to USD 409 Board of Education Office at 626 Commercial Street, Atchison, Kansas 66002. To donate goods contact AHS to make appropriate arrangements.

The AHS Campus Cupboard is a 501-C3 nonprofit organization, donors are eligible to receive receipts for tax deductible contributions.

Mary Meyers can be reached via mary.meyers@atchisonglobenow.com. Follow her on Twitter:@MARYMEYERSglobe

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