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E L K S N A T I O N A L F O U N D A T I O N Joy of Giving


Pantry Partners for Success: The Story of US


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TUDENTS at Millcreek High School, an alternative school in St. George, Utah, are not your average teenagers. They come to Millcreek as a result of court referrals, because of trouble at tradi- tional schools, or because of health is- sues. As Wayne Preston notes,


the


school’s staff does “‘whatever it takes’” to help the students of Millcreek High School graduate, and it is this senti- ment that inspired Preston and other members of the St. George “Dixie,” Utah, Lodge to do something more for the students at the school. The St. George “Dixie” Lodge mem- bers were already involved with Mill- creek High School students through scholarship programs, award cere- monies, and other types of support projects, but they had an opportunity to make a different and important fur- ther contribution to the well-being of


Two Millcreek High School students enjoy healthy lunches provided by the St. George “Dixie,” Utah, Lodge’s Pantry Partners for Success.


the students by helping to ensure that the students would be able to eat nutritious food and have some other basic needs met.


In 2010, the lodge received a $10,000 ENF Impact Grant to start Pantry Partners for Success, which stocked a school pantry with equipment, including a new refrigerator/freezer, and food supplies. The program also was designed to help students with individual needs, including providing stu- dents with such items as hygiene products for young men and women, baby formula, and diapers. Lodge members hoped through this program to increase the graduation rate at the school. The program has received another $10,000 ENF Impact Grant for 2011 to continue this great work.


Whatever It Takes By providing groceries for students who live on their


own, child care books for student-parents, and healthy meals for students with tight schedules, Pantry Partners for Success takes the school’s “whatever-it-takes” philosophy to heart and allows St. George “Dixie” Lodge members to offer different types of support for different types of students. To date, lodge members have donated hundreds of hours of their time to the project, doing everything from knitting


T H E E L K S M A G A Z I N E


blankets and baby booties for students’ children to compil- ing recipe books to go along with the pantry and assisting students who live independently with setting up their own homes. Lodge members love spending time at the school, and in addition to building and maintaining the pantry, they go to the school every night to provide the students with fresh fruit and other snacks. Last summer, when school was not in session and the pantry was closed, Pantry Partners for Success committee members even gave out their personal phone numbers just in case students needed emergency help.


Project Growth


Thanks to a partnership with a local food bank and much community support, the Pantry Partners for Success project has grown, allowing St. George “Dixie” Lodge members to provide Millcreek High School students with bus passes, more child care supplies, and even assistance with things such as paying tuition for prenatal classes. In 2010, the project’s first year, the graduation rate at Millcreek rose from 48 percent to 59 percent, with 95 percent of the graduating seniors receiving some form of support from the pantry. Project Manager Betty Archambault is proud of the


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