Tuesday marked the opening of Pine City High School’s Dragon Food Shelf.
The idea for a food shelf began when Dihanna Fedder, Pine City High School's media specialist, and a group of teachers toured a high school in Alexandria.
Fedder said, "During the tour our host opened a door and casually said, 'This is our food shelf,' and I thought this is something we could have in Pine City."
She saw there was an opportunity to directly help teenagers since Pine City High School has many students who use the free or reduced lunch program.
The community was quick to get on board. Frandsen Bank & Trust offered to hold a fundraiser, and churches from the area donated large boxes full of food. One church even raised $700 for the Dragon Food Shelf.
However, finding food that teenagers will eat is difficult task. The food shelf wants to stock food items that are shelf stable and teen friendly.
Fedder said, "We want stuff that teens will look at and be willing to eat. We all know the story of the kids opening the fridge and saying there is nothing to eat, but that means what they are looking at is ingredients."
The Dragon Food Shelf is stocked with items that do not require a lot of effort to make like soups or macaroni and cheese, but the food shelf does not exclusively stock food. They also have school supplies and hygiene products available to students.
Teens are able to browse the food shelf unsupervised, and they are allowed to take 10 pounds of food every two weeks.
Pine City High School worked to find a space that was out of the way to keep the confidentiality of the students who use the food shelf. They are able to receive a hall pass from their teacher and visit the food shelf during class time so they can have a little extra anonymity.
Fedder said, "We've done our best to make sure that there will be some confidentiality in it so they (students) won't be on display, but it is here for the kids because we don't want them to be hungry. We want them to be comfortable so they are able to put their best foot forward."
Since the Dragon Food Shelf was opened, it has served over 14 students who have taken around 150 pounds of food.