Grimsley student helps others with school food pantry

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- During her lunch period, you can find Cassandra Alvarino putting together bags of food and stocking shelves in Grimsley High School’s food pantry.

She’s not only volunteering her time, what a lot of people don’t know, is that the pantry was the high school junior’s idea.

“[I had] no idea that 40 percent of the school was food insecure. I knew Guilford County was in dire need of a program like this, or more programs like this, but I didn’t realize it would be so close to home,” Alvarino said.

She wanted to do something to help make sure classmates had enough to eat, but as a freshman, she was hesitant.

“I was a little bit because I thought, ‘Well maybe somebody’s not going to think it’s a great idea or maybe it’s not going to help as many people as I thought,’” she said.

She put fear aside and moved forward and received a $900 grant from the Teen Grantmaking Council through the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.

Over the last two years, the pantry has continued to grow -- serving more Grimsley families in need.

“By the end of last year, we had about 30 families and now we have about 30, 35 families with over 150 people,” Alvarino said.

The food is supplied by Backpack Beginnings and school food drives.

Alvarino’s classmates volunteer to help during their lunch periods, not only in the food pantry, but also in what has expanded into a clothing pantry.

Teachers say Alvarino has become the student who inspires her classmates.

“I’m very humbled by it. I never really saw myself as somebody that others could look up to,” Alvarino said.

“You don’t do it for the thanks. You do it because it makes you feel good.”