Food pantry at Dayton’s Edison Elementary to help families

Pantry is open to Edison Elementary students, but district expects it to expand to other buildings.

Dayton Public Schools on Wednesday opened its first-ever food pantry for families at Edison Elementary on Broadway Street.

Elizabeth Lolli, the district’s superintendent, said while Edison is the first school to get a food pantry inside the school, other schools are considering ways to make their own pantries possible.

“There’s a vast need across the state for food pantries, for food supplies,” Lolli said. “There is a food desert in many places in the city of Dayton. And this helps stop some of that need for food because we’re here available to share it with our families and to share it with our students.”

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Fed students feel better, learn better and behave better, Lolli noted.

This is not the only program DPS has available to feed students. DPS offers free breakfast and lunch to all students through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which gives grants for districts in low-income areas to have those meals available to all students for free. Lolli said Edison has hosted produce stands for local families in the past.

There is no limit on how often students and families can visit the pantry, but they must make an appointment to come, DPS officials said. If transportation is an issue, the district plans to deliver the food.

The school’s Family Resource Coordinator, Liz Swanson, will ensure the pantry is always stocked with items for families and handle any requested deliveries.

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The pantry includes items like peanut butter, packaged snacks, milk, juice and frozen pre-made meals from Miami Valley Meals. Families have a choice in what they take from the pantry. Later this summer, the pantry will also include fresh produce from the Possum Creek MetroPark garden.

Swanson said when she was hired at the beginning of the school year, district staff told her a food pantry was a priority. She found grants and partnerships to make it happen.

Combined ShapeCaption
From the right, Molly Lunne, Liz Swanson, Elizabeth Lolli, Wyetta Hayden and Dr. Terress Monroe cut the ribbon on a new food pantry at Edison Elementary School on Broadway St. Wednesday 18, 2022. Dayton Public Schools in partnership with the Foodbank, Miami Valley Meals, Hall Hunger Initiative, Five Rivers Metroparks and the YMCA helped initiate the food pantry. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

From the right, Molly Lunne, Liz Swanson, Elizabeth Lolli, Wyetta Hayden and Dr. Terress Monroe cut the ribbon on a new food pantry at Edison Elementary School on Broadway St. Wednesday 18, 2022. Dayton Public Schools in partnership with the Foodbank, Miami Valley Meals, Hall Hunger Initiative, Five Rivers Metroparks and the YMCA helped initiate the food pantry. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Combined ShapeCaption
From the right, Molly Lunne, Liz Swanson, Elizabeth Lolli, Wyetta Hayden and Dr. Terress Monroe cut the ribbon on a new food pantry at Edison Elementary School on Broadway St. Wednesday 18, 2022. Dayton Public Schools in partnership with the Foodbank, Miami Valley Meals, Hall Hunger Initiative, Five Rivers Metroparks and the YMCA helped initiate the food pantry. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

The food pantry was made possible with support from The Foodbank, Miami Valley Meals, Hall Hunger Initiative, Five Rivers MetroParks and the YMCA, DPS said.

Lolli said the school plans to send out an all-call for parents and send flyers home with students to make families aware of the available resource.

The pantry is open through the summer for delivery only. Contact Edison Elementary at 937-542-4540.


How to get help

Dayton Public Schools has a free meal program during the summer for students. More information can be found on the school’s website.

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