East Tennessee teacher’s viral social post creates school pantry

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JACKSBORO, Tenn. (WATE) – Just before fall break at Jacksboro Elementary, a first-grade teacher had a student ask her when the guidance counselor was coming by to give him food to take home because he was out.

“He said ‘I need the whole bag.’ He said ‘I’m out.’ I said okay so you’re hungry and I said is it macaroni. He said ‘no.’ I said is it the SpaghettiOs and he looked up and he laughed and he said, ‘no we don’t have those,'” said Brooke Goins, a first-grade teacher at the elementary school in Campbell County. “The ones with the little bitty O’s’ and, I said, yeah and he said ‘those give me a warm belly and help me sleep,'”

Today I cried for a child, a child who so innocently talked about food, and the lack of it.

Brooke Goines, teacher at Jacksboro Elementary School

When a group of teachers at Jacksboro Elementary found out the young boy was out of food at home, they sprung into action. The group came up with some money and quickly ran to the local Walmart and bought the first-grader some food to take home.

Later that day Brooke Goins made a post on Facebook thanking the teachers who stepped up.

The Facebook post went viral, being shared more than 17,000 times (less than 40,000 people live in Campbell County). As a result, the school has been able to open its very own Eagles Market Pantry to help prevent a scenario like this from happening again.

Campbell County is among the poorer counties in Tennessee with 19.2% of the population living in poverty, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics. (The percentage of people in poverty is 15.3% for Tennessee and 11.8% for the United States.)

Since the social post, the school has seen donations from as far away as Alaska, California and New York.

How to help

The school is asking people who want to donate food to send it to the school’s address: 164 Jacksboro Elementary School Road, Jacksboro TN, 37757.

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