Visit the Washington Co. School Pantry

In Washington County something special is happening within the walls of the local school district. During the 2023-2024 school year, six school districts across our service area – Allen, Caldwell, Caverna, Logan, Russell and Washington – partnered with Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland (FAKH) to establish on-campus food pantries for pre-k through 12th grade students and their families. The School Pantry Program doesn’t just provide food; they offer hope, support, and a sense of community.

The impact of consistent access to nutritious meals extends far beyond the dinner table. National studies have shown that when children have access to healthy food their performance in school improves and behavioral problems decrease. In 2022, 1 in 7 children in Kentucky’s Heartland were food insecure, which jeopardized their academic and physical well-being, and prompted FAKH to implement the School Pantry Program.

Students in food insecure households often have family members dealing with food insecurity. Through the School Pantry Program model we are able to meet the holistic needs of the whole family – not just the child. The Washington County School Pantry serves over 90 families and students each month. Behind each student and family is a story; grandparents stepping up to raise their grandchildren, families facing illnesses and disabilities, and individuals navigating the challenges of rising inflation and grocery costs. In each case, the school pantry has become a lifeline.

Beyond the shelves, it’s the people behind the school pantries that make the difference. The dedicated Family Resources Youth Services Coordinators (FRYSCs), like Jesse Mattingly (left) go above and beyond to foster connections and address the various needs of their community.

“The families come in and they get to know us as people… it [the pantry] has become an avenue for us to create better relationships with these families so that we can help them address issues that they face,” said Mattingly.

School Pantries are a Feeding Kids initiative, to support our work to feed children in Kentucky’s Heartland consider donating at