The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank says around 75 percent of public school students in the city are going hungry.
That’s a stark reality at Perry High School in the North Side.
So Sharon Brentley doesn’t just prepare lesson plans every morning – she also fires up her crockpot.
She and Dr. Rochelle Oaks are part of the "Crockpot Connection" at Perry, a group of teachers that offer food in their classrooms. It's a game-changer that's brought more kids to school.
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“I went from four to 12 students, which is simply amazing to have that many kids and they come in, they’re eating with her, watching CNN student news, and by the time they get finished, they’re actually doing their work,” Oaks said.
Doing their work because they're no longer hungry.
“People here they don’t have food at home and they also have younger siblings that don’t have food,” said student Jasmyn White.
Once White and her friends realized there was a need, they started a food pantry in the library.
The Pittsburgh Community Food Bank helped by giving them 1,000 pounds of food a week.
“We would get a shipment on Monday and by Tuesday it was gone,” she said.
They're now getting 3,000 pounds of food a week, and it's made a big difference.
“What we’re doing is getting things in smaller sizes, microwavable things, that kids can eat,” said librarian Sheila May-Stein. “(Things) the kids can heat up and eat right now because they’re so hungry.”
The effort meets the most basic needs of students so that they can then learn and succeed.
“People need to eat, they get to eat and it’s free,” said student Dylan Dowdy.
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