Monroeville pitches in to elementary’s food program |

Monroeville pitches in to elementary’s food program

Dillon Carr
Monroeville Foundation donated a $1,000 check to University Park Elementary School on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Pictured, from left, are Aaron Smith, Gateway social worker; Karen Montgomery, Gateway guidance counselor; Jennifer Hoffner, University Park principal; Donald Phillips and Kelly Moore, Monroeville Foundation board members.

Educators at University Park Elementary noticed a trend among their students.

“We were hearing more and more about kids, where they come to school out of the weekend still hungry,” said Principal Jennifer Hoffner. “Because of the sheer number of kids on free and reduced meals, we wanted to see if there was a desire or need that we could help our families.”

The school launched its Gateway Backpack Program, providing children who qualify for the free and reduced meal program with a backpack to take home Friday full of breakfast and lunch for Saturday and Sunday.

The Monroeville Foundation donated $1,000 on April 18 so the school could purchase more food. Other businesses and organizations have already donated backpacks and food.

Hoffner said about half of the 140 students in the free and reduced meal program are taking advantage of the program. There are 350 students enrolled in the school.

Before launching the program, a detailed letter was sent home with eligible students.

Hoffner said the program has been in place for about three weeks, and backpacks full of food are being distributed.

“There are so many stressors in any given family, and food is obviously a big one,” she said.

Gateway School District currently does not have any other program like the one at University Park, said food Director Martin Lorenzo.

Slightly more than half of the district’s studentsare enrolled in free and reduced lunches, Lorenzo said.

Dr. Cleveland Steward Jr. Elementary has the highest percent of students in the program, with 71 percent of the approximately 320 students enrolled.

Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Dillon at 412-871-2325, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Monroeville
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.