As school begins in Gwinnett County Monday, students have a place to get food if they do not have anything to eat at home.

Tucked away in a back room at Berkmar High School, a closet is filled with food and hope.

Senior Lauren Seroyer came up with the idea last year after a classmate confided in her he was hungry because his family did not have any food at home.  What started with one closet of non-perishable items has expanded to eight high schools in the county this year.

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Lauren’s brother Steven is the muscle behind the program. He stocks shelves and handles logistics.

“I think the happiness is for me seeing people faces when they know they’ll have something to eat,” student Grant Seroyer said.

Community donations fill the shelves. Students can confidentially grab as much of the food as their families need after talking with a counselor.

“It’s not actually a snack thing, you actually have to have a real need,” Lauren Seroyer said.

Teachers and students agree; the biggest challenge has been getting students to open up.

“If they can’t ask for help now, it’s going to be a real struggle in the real world,” teacher Emily Santowski said.

The program is also expanding into hygiene products, with plans of soon not only being in every Gwinnett County High School, but across the country too, wherever there is a need.

This free pantry will feed students who don’t have enough food

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