Bismarck High School's Starfish Program helps feed students in need

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Lots of kids come home to after school snacks. Unfortunately, some teenagers don't have any food to come home to, and it's especially tough on the weekends, when some go days without a meal.

Thanks to the Starfish Program, Bismarck High School students don't have to go hungry when they leave campus.

These donations feed many students who are homeless or come from low income families in the Bismarck area.

Every holiday season, the Bismarck High School's choir, band and orchestra collect donations for the food pantry as admission to their concerts.

"I think last year we had about 600 pounds of food between this concert and then our other holiday concerts that happen over the course of a two week period," said Brian Saylor, BHS director of choral activities.

The donations fill the food pantry in the Demon Den. During the holidays, students and parents provide donations. The rest of the year, Bread Poets and Cashwise are the main contributors.

"We had a woman in the community call Dan's and ask, she said she wanted to donate to the BHS Food Pantry and donated almost $900 worth of food," said speech pathologist Wendy Bakken.

The school based enterprise class runs the pantry, and students say it is an eye-opening experience.

BHS junior Caden Evanson said: "I honestly don't think that many people realize that so many people that we even go to school with are struggling here. I think if they started to pay attention then maybe they would want to help out and give this class a shot."

While the pantry is overflowing now thanks to the help of the concerts, the rest of the year it's only three fourths full because so many students are in need.

Bismarck High School has a high number of students that qualify for free or reduced lunches. That only gets kids through the day, and the thanks to the Starfish Program, kids can take home backpacks full of food whenever they need it.

The program is named this because like throwing starfish into the tide, BHS is making a difference one student at a time

If you'd like to donate to the pantry, call Bismarck High School.