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Sandy Journal

Students helping students, providing food during Jordan High’s school break

May 08, 2023 01:02PM ● By Julie Slama

As part of a marketing class assignment, two boys got food donations which were bagged for Jordan High students and their families during spring break. (Photo courtesy of Cambree Swenson)

More than 50 families got food for breakfasts and lunches this past spring break, thanks to two marketing students who reached out to the Jordan High community.

“This started as a marketing assignment; we were to do four hours of marketing for a nonprofit organization,” Jordan High senior Grant Bain said. “We decided we wanted to promote our school food pantry, Helping Hand, and in the process of meeting with people, we learned that students and families who depend on it, don’t have access to it during spring break. So, our idea was to provide food for them that week.”

The goal was to provide 50 families a bag of breakfast and lunch items for students who normally would have access to the pantry during a normal school week.

The students’ teacher, Sam Soter, said the students learned about the need and decided to act.

“They reached to their circle of influence and asked for donations after learning that a lot of students depend on the school for lunch and breakfast,” he said. “So, while students are out of school for spring break, having access to food can become a hardship for some. It’s a cool initiative and insight that these students had. I really like that it’s students helping students.”

Jordan Assistant Principal Jason Long said that the pantry, which is funded and supplied 100% by community donations, is used regularly when school is in session.

“Each school year, there are JHS students that experience homelessness or displacement, so there is a significant need; everyone can use a helping hand throughout life,” he said. “We are very grateful for the donations and community support for these families. Furthermore, it was amazing to see JHS students themselves come together to provide spring break care packages for many students and families in need.”

Bain said it was a multistep process.

“The biggest thing was the marketing part of it,” he said. “First, we made fliers to donate to our pantry and went about getting that word out. Then, we had to share with students that we had the food.”

Bain estimates that he and his classmate, senior Andrew Foerster, each put in about a dozen hours for this project. 

Both boys asked neighbors for donations. They also shared the word with the student body officers’ Instagram, the school television announcements and the Sandy Mayor’s office, hoping the need would be shared on their social media sites.

Foerster said it all tied to their class.

“In marketing, we’re talking about how to market events and so we just had to figure out the strategies we could use to market for the school, how to get the word out about what we’re doing and the need for donations,” Foerster said.

It was all done in less than two weeks—including bagging the $2,000 worth of donations, Bain said.

“Once we got all the food together, we got a group of students together who wanted to help out bagging on Thursday before spring break started and after school Friday. We divided food into categories and put some of each into grocery bags,” said Bain, who said he has enjoyed learning more in-depth and applying what he’s learned in this Marketing 1030 concurrent enrollment class.  

In addition to students and neighbors donating, Great Harvest contributed loaves of bread and Harmons supplied the bags. The spring break supplies consisted of peanut butter, jelly, macaroni and cheese, noodles, cereal, rice, tortillas, granola bars, Goldfish snack crackers and other items, Foerster said.

“We thanked everyone for all the donations and those who helped us getting the food bagged up in time,” he said.

Counselors distributed the bags to students in need.

“We aren’t necessarily aware of who uses the pantry, but I do know one of my friends uses it occasionally. It makes an impact for us because we are doing it for Jordan, our school, and when we see students leaving with bags after school, it’s kind of cool knowing we were helping them out,” Foerster said.  

The two received more donations than what was needed to fill the bags. Those surplus items were to be added to the pantry shelves.

Soter said that the students also indirectly raised awareness in the community about the Helping Hand pantry that distributes food to clothing.

“These two classmates are very service-oriented and put everything together, did all the marketing, created social media and community awareness about both the need and availability of the pantry to those who could use it,” he said.

Foerster said he learned a lot beyond just the assignment.

“I learned there’s a lot more people at my school who can use help, more than I thought,” he said. “As far as the class, I learned a ton of marketing strategies and while it was really cool to see how those principles actually apply, what I liked most has been the direct impact. I know we’re helping out people here at the high school and it’s actually meaningful.”

The Jordan High Helping Hand Food Pantry is available for all students and community members at 2:30 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and at 1 to 3 p.m. on Fridays. Students or families can reach out to a high school counselor or assistant principal, who are willing to arrange access to food or clothing outside of those hours as needed. λ