Teacher takes lead of Food for Thought program

Students and staff try to tackle hunger.


Travis Murray

Food for Thought volunteers, Braeden Bromley, Julia Zickus, Kyle Hoskins, and Josh Duarte, meet in the basement of the Board of Education to assemble food bags to distribute to students.

Travis Murray, Staff Writer - West Campus

When walking down the hallway, it is hard for students to tell which of their peers are thriving and which ones are not. Some struggles are difficult to detect, like hunger. In fact, some students dread going home on the weekends because they don’t have food.

One teacher and her helpers want to make sure none of the students at MCHS go hungry. West Campus English Teacher Ashley Diedrich is the director of Food For Thought, an organization dedicated to providing students with food.

Several teachers founded the program. However, Diedrich took the lead role after former MCHS faculty member and founder of Food for Thought, Aubrey Francis, left the school. Diedrich said she was Francis’s main helper and was honored to take her place.

Food for Thought has created a pantry that houses food donations. The food is maintained, organized and then provided to students in need.

Every Thursday, Diedrich and her volunteers gather, head over to the Board of Education Office, and go down to the basement. There, underneath the offices, lies a pantry stocked with goods. The basement is a dimly lit room with bright hopes and is where the magic happens. Volunteers are given a list of food to place in bags.

Helpers then “shop” in the rows of parallel shelves that are stocked with food and work to make sure each bag is filled with the correct items. The bags are then tied up, given a sticker and letter, and are ready to be distributed.

Diedrich said, “…I can’t stress enough what a group effort this is.”

One student said she volunteers so she can help her fellow classmates.

Valentina Londono, a student leader in the program, said, “…What motivates me is knowing that you’re helping out a classmate. It could be someone, you know, sitting next to you in math class, but you wouldn’t know they were receiving the food.”

Most of the students who help are thinking of their peers in need.

Another student leader Ryan Resek said, “I always think about myself, if I was in that position, if I didn’t have food on the weekends, you know, I would like a program like this.”

Diedrich is thankful for the program, and though it is very uplifting, it can also be emotional.

“I think the hardest part, is just it’s heartbreaking to see that we even need this program, like I’m so grateful to have it, but it’s so heartbreaking…” Diedrich said, “A student wrote about how he did not have meals on the weekends… our first thought was let’s buy him gift cards, let’s buy him groceries, but that’s such a ‘Band-aid’ on such a bigger issue…”

Though food donations do not permanently solve the problem of hunger, this program is a huge step in the right direction.

Whether it’s for volunteer hours or from the goodness of one’s heart, anyone may join the fight against hunger. Hopefully, MCHS will see a day where no student is left without food and can learn and plan their future without any worry.  Those wishing to join Food for Thought can contact Mrs. Diedrich or meet outside her classroom in the English hallway.