GREENVILLE – The Greenville Education Support Professionals Association (GESPA) will continue to sponsor and oversee a food pantry geared at feeding residents in the Pocahontas and Sorento communities. Both towns are served by the Bond County Community Unit 2 School District.
The program started in mid-February and provides food on a bi-weekly basis. The program is scheduled to continue through May. Each box of food contains meat, cheese, milk and other food products.
“We started this program because we know food insecurity is big issue facing many of our students and their families,” GESPA President Cassie Smith said. “We want to make sure no one goes hungry, and that our students can focus on school instead of where their next meal might be coming from.”
So far it’s estimated the program has helped 250 families. A grant from the Illinois Education Association, the parent group of GESPA, helped sponsor the program. The University of Illinois Extension is also involved in keeping the food pantry running.
“It’s clear from the number of people we’ve been able to help in a few short months that this program is greatly needed,” Smith said. “We hope to continue to provide food, as long as there’s a need.”
GESPA represents approximately 60 education support positions, including teacher aides, custodians, food service employees, bus drivers, school secretaries, clerks, parent educations, maintenance, mechanics and other positions within the Bond Community School District.
The next food pantry will be held at 3:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. on April 22 at the Sorento Elementary School (510 S. Main St., Sorento).
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.