POW students

Students and staff at the Marion School District are helping nearly 40 Marion-area families stay fed, with the help of a $30,000 grant from the Arkansas Foodbank.

Each week, students and staff work together to make food deliveries to 38 district families facing food and/or housing insecurity. The food deliveries include shelf-stable food items ranging from potatoes to canned goods to bottled water.

The district began the program last October after being awarded the grant. Grant funding is used mostly to purchase food items, but also to cover some transportation costs. Most food items are purchased from the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, which delivers a truckload of items to the district every several weeks. Students from Marion High School’s “Patriots Out Working” (POW) program unload the items, organize them for storage, and help fill packages for weekly delivery. The items are then delivered to the families once a week, even during school breaks. The program will continue through September.

Over the past several months, families have received canned goods, potatoes, cereal, pop tarts, applesauce, macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, peanut butter, fruit, bottled water, and more.

For the POW students, the program is an opportunity to gain some hands-on soft skills in preparation for life beyond high school. The food delivery program is just one way the POW students gain skills. Other POW students have served internships at local businesses including grocery stores, boutiques, auto parts stores, restaurants, and more. Some students have even served roles within Marion Schools, assisting at both the district’s bus shop and in elementary PE classes.

Ultimately, the food delivery program is a cooperative element involving numerous district groups, all working together, including the office of federal programs, the child nutrition department, the transportation staff, and students.

 With a growing enrollment of nearly 3,900 students, the Marion School District is committed to helping students develop the academic, social, and decision-making skills needed to become productive citizens in the rapidly changing technological world. For enrollment information, including information on school choice, visit https://www.msd3.org/ or call 870-739-5100.