Minnewaska Area Schools is excited to announce the opening of a school-sponsored food shelf named The Lighthouse. Food insecurity is a growing challenge that became even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. The USDA defines being food insecure as having limited or uncertain access to a sufficient quantity of healthy food.

“One in nine people in Minnesota, and one in six Minnesota kids, experience food insecurity,” said Mary Walsh, MAS social worker, in a press release. “These include students and families living in our community. With the need so great, we knew we had to do something. We are committed to assisting students find easy and healthy solutions to the challenges they face.”

The Lighthouse name was chosen as it represents a light for students and families who may be experiencing some darkness in their lives. Located in the high school, The Lighthouse currently serves grades 4-12 on a referral basis. MAS helps meet the needs of younger students by participating in the Backpack Attack program which provides bags of food on Fridays for students in EC-3rd grade that participate in the program.

The Lighthouse was made possible through a strong partnership with Horizon Public Health and community donors. In order to continue to grow the current experience, the food shelf will rely on food drives, grant funding and continued community donations and support.

To learn more about the services The Lighthouse provides or to learn how you can support the food shelf, contact MAS social worker Mary Walsh at mwalsh@isd2149.org and/or Sarah Suchy, Minnewaska Middle School principal at ssuchy@isd2149.org, or by calling 320-239-4800.