Access to everyday groceries has become one of the biggest issues for many families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Cheshire Food Pantry has been at the forefront of assisting Cheshire residents with getting adequate groceries and making sure they have all they need during the COVID-19 pandemic, and one group of Dodd Middle School students is dedicated to fulfilling the Pantry’s need for items that many might otherwise overlook.
“When we learned that over 1,000 teens miss out on school or education due to the lack of access to period products, we knew we wanted to do something,” explained eighth grader Izzy Schackner. “We chose to do this because a lot of people don’t realize that a lot of women struggle with this issue.”
Once the girls identified a need, they went to work right away to help raise funds and collect donations for the Food Pantry, specifically for feminine hygiene products and items to assist teen girls who might visit the Pantry.
“The girls were really amazing to think not only of the Pantry, but of the people in their community who might need the help,” said Cheshire Food Pantry Executive Director Kerry Walsh. “The girls also created care packages with a variety of period products and items many teenage girls might need. (The Dodd students) really thought of everything.”
In total, the girls raised $2,100 for the Pantry to purchase feminine hygiene products, in addition to donating three large bins full of donations that were gathered over the course of the girls’ effort. The students delivered the donations to the Pantry on Saturday, March 13.
“It was a really great day,” said student Brenna Zbikowski. “We were able to really get a lot of donations and we had a lot of fun actually going out and raising awareness for the cause.”
Zbikowski and her friends used the Farmington Linear Trail as a means for fundraising — spreading the word up and down the walkway to try to convince Cheshire residents who were out for a walk or run to donate to their cause. The girls split into groups and stationed themselves along the trail. They also had a GoFundMe link for their cause, which they shared with as many Cheshire residents as they could.
“We had a lot of fun. It was actually the first time we got the chance to see some of our friends at all during the pandemic,” mentioned student Cam Lewis. “We actually got to spend some time together doing something for a good cause.”
The girls have plans to carry on their efforts throughout the year, and have established an Instagram account called @she.drive in order to keep residents updated on their efforts.
“This is absolutely something we want to continue to do throughout the year,” explained student Kaelyn Fitzgerald. “We are all passionate about this and it’s something we want to continue in town for as long as we can and get even more people involved next year.”