(Peoria, AZ) The Hart Pantry is an organization that provides food bags to at-risk or homeless high school students in the west valley. They started in 2013 as a church mission, but now have grown as their own non-profit foundation.
The organization works with schools and community counselors to provide as much support as possible for these students.
“At present they serve Peoria Unified School District, Ombudsman School in Peoria, Ombudsman School-Metro in Glendale, Dysart Unified School District,Glendale Union HS District, Dysart Community Center, Peoria Community Center, and teen counselors at EVE'S PLACE,” Hart Pantry website.
Ruth Langford and her husband, Dick, started the foundation after a lady came to their church and asked if they could help provide food to at-risk teens. At the beginning they worked from the church, but in 2014 moved to Sun City at Eve’s Place and became a non-profit.
The organization provides other necessary things for these high school students, rather than just food.
“ In addition to weekly food packs, basic clothing, reclaimed bikes, toiletries, blankets, Christmas and graduation gifts and filled “back to school” backpacks for our students are also given out on request from their school,” Hart Pantry website.
An at-risk teen is defined as someone who is truly homeless or someone who is experiencing a financial crisis at home.
“Students are designated usually by school guidance counselors, nurses or resource officers,” Hart Pantry website.
Langford and her staff do not work directly with the students, the school staff works with them and talks to Langford. Hart Pantry works with guidance counselors, nurses and resource officers.
“After contact by the Executive Director with the school personnel presenting our program and being accepted as able to provide that program to their teens, we set up a school contact, time and place of drop off and method of communicating needs to us,” Hart Pantry website.
In the future, Langford hopes to be able to help at-risk teens after they graduate, rather than just when they are in highschool.
“For 8 plus years we have met our obligations to our kiddos; for the future, I expect to continue to meet the needs of the homeless and at-risk teens,” says Ruth Langford.