By Lindsay Doty
The Avon Community School Corporation held a grand opening for its Mary Lee Maier Community Pantry that serves students and school families in need.
The pantry is stocked with everything from peanut butter to toilet paper and recently relocated to a new permanent home at Avon Intermediate School East.
Community members came together to celebrate the hard work of volunteers and donors that made it all possible.
“What started as a handful of teachers trying to feed hungry students out of a drawer in a classroom is now a large, beautiful space that serves 35-50 families every Thursday evening to help them deal with food insecurity,” Mary Lee Maier Community Pantry Board President Kristi Kerr said.
It all began when several teachers noticed that some of their students often came to school hungry. They started a small pantry at Maple elementary and then a classroom at Avon Middle School South.
The permanent space was made possible by the support of the Avon Community School Corporation, Mike & Mindy Cunningham of Cunningham Restaurant Group, and Performance Services, Inc. who came together to help shape the new spot.
For weeks, students, the swim club, boy scouts, churches and others have dropped off countless donations, from cereal boxes to toiletries.
The pantry was named after Mary Lee Maier, the mother of Mindy Cunningham of Cunningham Restaurant Group (CRG). Due to CRG’s extensive support of the pantry, Mike Cunningham was asked to name the pantry. He did so in honor of his mother-in-law who was a dedicated educator in Cincinnati for more than 20 years as a Kindergarten teacher.
Donations can still be made to the school pantry by dropping off at the Avon Community School Corporation main office at 7203 E. U.S. 36.
To volunteer or for a wish list, go to avon-schools.org/pantry