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'I can actually eat this weekend.' Food pantry at Tehachapi High provides food for all--no questions asked

The THS Warrior Pantry is full of a variety of food and toiletry items, and even some donated clothes. The teachers who founded the pantry say it's open to everyone without judgment.
Posted at 5:18 AM, Apr 23, 2024

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KERO) — Teachers say the food pantry is open to all—no questions asked.

  • Founded by teachers at Tehachapi High School, the Warrior Pantry is a judgement-free space that allows students to have access to food and toiletry items.
  • Since the food pantry opened on campus in October, they say they now average around 150 students visiting per week.
  • Donations of nonperishable or toiletry items can be dropped off in person at the front office, or call (661) 822-2130 to speak with the front desk.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Inside a converted vacant classroom at Tehachapi High School sits a place open for all. A food pantry, filled with donated food for anyone on campus who needs it.

“Had this existed during the time I was in school, I think the course of my life would have been very different,” said Amber Dickinson.

Dickinson is a social science teacher at Tehachapi High School.

This year, she said she started noticing more and more students asking her if she had extra snacks to spare.

“[They'd ask] 'Do you have a granola bar…do you have any fruit snacks in your lunch you can share?'” she said.

Dickinson–or Ms. D–says with the price of food going up, she wanted to find a way to make sure none of her students–went hungry…because she knows the feeling.

“I hated weekends and summers and breaks because I didn’t have enough food,” she said.

She says she saw other teachers posting ideas for food pantries or care closets on TikTok. She approached her administration to see if they could do something similar on campus. She found another teacher who had the same idea–and they decided to open the pantry together.

The food pantry–called “Warrior Pantry” for their mascot, is open to all students, and even staff, Dickinson said…No questions asked.

“There’s no shame in helping others or being helped,” Dickinson said.

They officially opened in October.

“The first day that we opened, we had a student who left the pantry and they said, ‘I can actually eat this weekend,’" said Dickinson. "We knew at that moment that we had done something good.”

Now, months later, Dickinson says, on average they see around 150 students per week, and around 60 students each lunch period that they’re open. The total school population is around 1200 students.

“This has by far exceeded my expectations and I am so, so thankful that we are able to have this here for our students.”

As summer approaches, the teachers say they’re hoping to find a way to continue to feed the students through the summer break. If you would like to donate to the pantry, Dickinson says to email either adickinson@tehachapiusd.com or tmorrison@tehachapiusd.com. They say donations of non-perishable or toiletry items can also be made in person at the front office.


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