Teen Health Center partners with Ballard Food Bank to provide meals to students in need

ASB helps spread the word, making students feel a part of the community

Keely Carolan, Copy Editor
Originally published November 21, 2018

Fletcher Anderson

Fletcher Anderson

ASB has partnered with the Teen Health Center (THC) and the Ballard Food Bank to promote their food assistance program which provides meals to students who need food over weekends, when school breakfast and lunch aren’t available. 

This service is completely confidential and sends its participants home with backpacks full of food for the weekend to provide for them and their families. The backpacks–which are discreet and unrecognizable–contain enough food to provide one person with enough meals for a two-day weekend, and can be specified based on allergies and food preferences.

ASB Secretary senior Sophia Drezner spoke about how ASB has become more involved. “There hasn’t been much advertising or promotion of this program, which is a really great resource, so that’s kind of what we’re aiming to do: get the word out to students at Ballard that it’s available if they need it so that they can take advantage of it,” Drezner said.

Participation in the program has been minimal in the past because of the lack of advertising. By promoting this program, ASB hopes to destigmatize the problems that students in our community are going through.

Creating a culture of empathy about these topics is important when it comes to having a more unified community, as ASB Treasurer senior Ella Andersen discusses. “Our goal as an ASB this year is connection,” Andersen said. “We’re trying to make Ballard more of a community and make everyone feel comfortable here. If people are hungry then they’re obviously not going to be focused. We want everyone learning, but also to just feel safe and at home, and part of a good community.”

As ASB Comm Relations Rep junior Paige Bouvatte points out, having food is essential for students to function throughout school and their daily activities: “This program is really good, especially for high school students, because to be able to succeed you have to meet Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Food is one of the basic essential [needs], and this is a way for that to happen, so it sets students up for success.”

If students want to participate in this program, all they have to do is go to the THC and tell patient services coordinator Say Tuitele-Fio that they need food for the weekend. In order to have their bags prepared on time, students must let Tuitele-Fio know by the Tuesday before the weekend that they need food. Confidentiality is key–students don’t need to provide any information or even their name. 

“We live in a very affluent neighborhood, but we have to be aware that there are students in our population who are in need of food,” Drezner said. “We’re really trying to let those students know that we can take care of them as well. We care about them and we are here to help them to feel connected and feel a part of the school as much as anybody else, and we do that by establishing their basic needs.”