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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Paula TredwayThe California Middle School food pantry is now available through Google Classroom for the families of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to utilize if needed.

California Middle School has opened the school's food pantry to its students' families.

When it started out, the pantry was available 7:30-8 a.m. Fridays before school for any student wanting anything out of it, whether it be a pack of fruit snacks or a can of green beans.

Watching the children pick and choose out of the pantry gave the school the idea to open it to their students' families as well, because they had multiple meal options like spaghetti and chili, which aren't things most children would go for and the school didn't want to go to waste.

Scott Davis, California Middle School ISS supervisor, helped the school create an online system where parents would have access. He created a Google Classroom called CMS Food Pantry, made more accessible since every student has a Chromebook and has access to Google Classroom.

Davis sent out an email allowing all sixth, seventh and eighth graders to join; after they do so, they're able to get access to the online pantry. This gives parents the ability to look through the pantry and see what is available. So far, only 123 students out of the student body have joined, but the school is hopeful that more will and utilize the pantry when needed.

Once on the CMS Food Pantry page, parents will fill out a form with their name, family size, and a day and time for pick up, and then select from a list of food items available. Items are categorized, and listings include what the item is along with a picture to make searching faster and easier. A few hygiene items have recently been added, as well.

As of Feb. 23, there had been 18 orders, but there is no limit to the amount of times the pantry can be used.

After the orders are submitted, they're placed onto a spreadsheet that associates the order with a number instead of a name to keep things anonymous. From there, a group of students will help pull items to complete the order on either a Wednesday or Thursday.

The school encourages families to utilize the pantry as much as they need and to reach out with any questions they may have.

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