This Kid Started a School Clothes Pantry for Less Fortunate Classmates

PAM’s Pantry helps these middle schoolers go to school in style.

Sep 3, 2019

(STUDIO GRAND WEB / Shutterstock.com)

Chase Neyland-Square is only 13 years old, but he is having a big impact on his community. This 8th grader at Port Allen Middle School, in Louisiana, is making sure that his classmates have all the clothing and school supplies they need to start school.

Chase created a pantry in his middle school – called PAM's Pantry – filled with donated clothing, shoes, school supplies, and hygiene products. All items in the pantry, which is run out of a closet behind a stage in the school's gym, are completely free to take for any student that needs them.

Any family in the community, which has a lot of low-income households, can come and get supplies from the closet with absolutely no questions asked about need or income.

"They had a family, a Port Allen family who suffered from a fire, so they came in and got a whole new closet full of clothes,” Chase told CBS affiliate WAFB.

Chase knows that he is fortunate to have what he needs and said, "I know that everybody doesn't have things and I'm fortunate to have things that other people don't have, and I look at it as sometimes, how would I feel in that situation?"

The idea for PAM's Pantry was born from the Student Program for Arts, Recreation, and Knowledge (SPARK) that was started by the school's principal Jessica Major in 2016 to create young leaders. It appears to have worked.

"We ask them what they want to do to make the school better and through that, we have changed drastically some of the things that we do here at Port Allen Middle School,” Major said.

Some of the ideas that the SPARK kids suggested that have been implemented include longer recess, brightening up the hallways, adding more books to the library, and PAM's Pantry.

“Our kids wanted more books in the library that they enjoy,” Major said. “We took a survey so all the books in the library are based on what the kids like to read…“Our increase in library checkouts is by like 100%."

Chase said that his favorite part about the pantry is getting the donations in and sorting them to give out." He told Good Morning America, "It makes me feel good because I know that I can make a difference in my school."

Chase plans to keep the pantry going even after he leaves the middle school. "I'm going to come back and continue working on PAM's Pantry," he told WAFB. "I'm hoping one day I can turn it into a non-profit organization."

With plans like these, it is easy to see that this young man is on the right path to make his community a much better place to live.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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