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OUSD Schools Tackle Hunger with Food Pantries & Programs
Posted 9/20/19

Schools around Oceanside Unified School District are making efforts to remove hunger as a barrier to education. This week, El Camino High School got another food delivery for its pantry which is open daily after school for all students to grab a snack or take food and other items home for their families. 


“We are currently serving hundreds of kids every month...For some kids it makes a big difference, because it’s one less thing to worry about,” said English teacher Kathy Easterbrook, who started the pantry at El Camino. 


The food pantry began in 2017 after Easterbrook watched a program related to child hunger, went to the grocery store and purchased food and supplies on her own. She had teachers and others volunteering to help by the next day. 


The food pantry now runs under Easterbrook’s non-profit, Nourish North County, which is supporting other pantries starting up at Oceanside High School and Nichols Elementary. Nourish North County has a connection with San Diego Food Bank, who drops off food monthly and lets the school shop once a week at the bank to stock pantry shelves. 


Money donated to Nourish North County goes a long way, Easterbrook said, as the food bank provides bulk food items at a low cost. 


Shelves in Easterbrook’s classroom are stocked with soups, canned vegetables, granola bars, toiletries and even a fridge to hold items like frozen burritos. She is also working to expand the pantry with diapers, which she said go “hand in hand” with food insecurity, as families can be forced to decide between food or these items. 


With an estimated 1 in 6 in San Diego not knowing when they’ll get their next nutritious meal, more programs like the ECHS food pantry are popping up around the district and the county. 


This week, San Luis Rey Elementary also had its bi-weekly food pantry event, which is open the first and third Friday of each month to the whole community in the multi-purpose room. Produce and grocery staples from Feeding San Diego are distributed, and extras are given to groups like the local Boys & Club.


To donate to Nourish North County and support school food pantries, you can drop items off at El Camino High School for Kathy Easterbrook, or donate through PayPal.


Watch our OSIDE Week in One Minute to hear more about the programs and see El Camino's food pantry.