McALLEN – What was once a closet for science equipment at Lamar Academy, will now be the Energy Bar, a food pantry that will help fight food insecurity at the school.
The Energy Bar was created by International Baccalaureate students Samantha Almaraz and Pablo Ramirez. The food insecurity statistics are staggering at Lamar Academy. Roughly 80 percent of students enrolled in the Lamar Academy Options High Program and 30 percent of students enrolled in the IB Programme are economically disadvantaged and are battling food insecurity.
“This need set against the amount of untouched food thrown away in the thrash is inexcusable,” Ramirez said at a ribbon cutting for the Energy Bar.
Food insecurity in Texas schools along with food waste at their cafeterias prompted Senate Bill 725, which gave the authority of a school district to donate food to a nonprofit organization to be served to students of the district.
Stemmed by being in the classroom with their classmates, Ramirez and Almaraz took action to help fight insecurity.
“As student of IB we get to see first hand some of the daily struggles our students face,” Almaraz said. “We wanted to bring attention to the food insecurity present in our community.”
Through the Energy Bar, the two students collect food every morning, they restock the pantry and redistribute the food for students that are hungry or food insecure. A win-win situation for all parties involved.
Ultimately the two students would like for the administrators at McAllen school district to open food pantries at every campus within the district using the model from Lamar Academy.
Superintendent of schools Dr. J.A. Gonzalez would like to multiply this across the district, but right now there is no timeline in place.
“This is a tremendous program,” he said. “We want the program to be organic so we wanted our principals to check it out, it is something that can be replicated because of their solid business plan.”