With the long winter months just around the corner, it is more important than ever to remind our community of two programs available to our students. Nearly 11% of Crow Wing County residents live below the poverty line and many students come to school without having eaten breakfast, without having a clean pair of clothes, without having a jacket or boots to wear while waiting for the bus that morning.

The district’s primary role is to educate and better the lives of our students, but oftentimes students come to school with social and emotional needs that override the student’s ability to perform at their best. It’s difficult to concentrate and learn when you are hungry, when you don’t know if there will be food for dinner, if you can't complete your homework, because there are no school supplies at home or even enjoy recess with friends because you aren’t prepared for the cold weather.

Developed out of the growing need to provide food, clothing, school supplies and hygiene items for students experiencing financial hardships at home, the Brainerd High School “Warrior Warehouse'' was started in 2016, followed by “Fuel Up Forestview'' in 2017.

Fuel Up Forestview food pantry.
Fuel Up Forestview food pantry. Contributed

If you step inside our pantries you will see cans, boxes, and jars of food, racks filled with clothes, and bins with school supplies and hygiene items from toothbrushes to deodorant. Anything a student might need is available, and any student in need is able to access the pantry.

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Not only do the two pantries provide needed items to our students, they provide our special education students the opportunity to gain real-life job skills as they stock and organize the shelves with donations from our students, community organizations, local churches, and businesses.

If you or your business would like to contribute to the Forestview or Brainerd High School pantry, there are many ways to help--either through direct donations of food, school supplies, or hygiene products, or through monetary donations and gift card donations for groceries or gas. Please contact thomas.cooper@isd181.org or allison.vanvliet@isd181.org at Forestview Middle School, or Jessica.Wales@isd181.org at Brainerd High School for more information.