The Ames H.O.P.E. pantry is located at Ames Middle School and is available to all families in the District in need of emergency food supply. It is supported by the work of District Homeless Liaison Candice Collins and the amazing Student and Family Advocates who support all of our buildings.
As of October 2021, approximately 54 students in the Ames district have been identified as being displaced (homeless). Collins believes this number could be low due to current identification procedures, something she is taking steps to address. At least 24% of the families served through the homeless program are non-English speaking families.
Thanks to the generous and continuous donations from community partners, whether identified as homeless or not, the H.O.P.E pantry is available to all families who are in need. Families who are having difficulty finding their next meal can access the pantry. In addition to food, the pantry also has clothing, hygiene, and household items. Collins and her team are conscious of the potential stigma that can surround homelessness and take efforts to provide access to the pantry in discreet and strategic ways.
The Food Bank of Iowa School Pantry Program has provided a grant to the Ames District through the State of Iowa. The grant has helped the District build the pantry to alleviate hunger through food distribution and education. The H.O.P.E. Pantry also receives contributions from community and personal donors, as well as religious organizations such as Cornerstone Church, Hope Lutheran, Calvary United Methodist, and Collegiate Presbyterian. Community partners include the Salvation Army and United Way of Story County.
If you are interested in ways that you can donate, please contact Ames CSD Homeless Liaison Candice Collins or learn more about donating on the H.O.P.E. Pantry webpage.