BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - More than 11 million children in America are food insecure, and two Blackfoot students want to help.
Blackfoot High School (BHS) seniors, Gaby Bobadilla and Dayana Medellin, created a food pantry at their school for their classmates.
“I saw that there were students in need and so we were like, ‘This will help,'" Medellin said.
At BHS, about 41 percent of students qualify for federal free and reduced-price meals, according to Idaho Ed News.
The school has never had a food pantry available for students before. School counselors recently started a hygiene pantry for students to get things like deodorant, tooth brushes, feminine hygiene products and more.
But until Bobadilla and Medellin, students could only rely on school lunches for sustenance.
BHS has 12 students that qualify as homeless, according to Medellin and Bobadilla. They found this number as they were researching for their project.
The pantry started as a service project for Family, Career Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), which Bobadilla and Medellin are members of.
They decided to take on the food pantry as their chapter project, which they got silver in at districts. They'll be competing in state on April 1.
Through a food drive, the girls' FCCLA chapter stocked a non-perishable food pantry, located in the counselor's office. Anyone can take items from the food and hygiene pantry, no questions asked.
“I was kind of scared that students were going to be too embarrassed or scared to come to get these supplies, but taking inventory, we see that students are actually coming to use this,” Bobadilla said.
Food insecurity is defined as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The girls hope to partner with the Idaho Food Bank to keep the pantry stocked. They also plan to work with student council and do further food drives.
"The community gave to us and we’re kind of giving back,” Medellin said.
See the full story tonight at 10 on KIFI Local News 8 and 9 on KIDK Eyewitness News 3.