In Food Pantry, Montessori Adolescent Corps (MAC) students run three different community programs, all with the goal of helping to create a food system in the Damascus area that works for everyone. These programs benefit community members by focusing on sustainable, healthy, largely local food that serves different people in different ways. The students themselves are served by gaining the myriad strengths and tools that come with knowledge of the larger world and how it feels to take care of and learn from others. The individual programs that they are responsible for are Senior Luncheon, Free Food Market, and the Lewis and Clark Food Pantry.

Senior Luncheon: Twice each month, students invite local seniors to come and enjoy lunch with them. The LCMCS  kitchen staff cooks while students host by setting up, providing entertainment, sitting with their guests, and cleaning up afterward. This provides an opportunity for kids to learn hospitality, and it’s a lovely event to watch unfold. The adolescents and seniors always end up visiting with grace and humor, and the event promotes amazing intergenerational relationships and understanding. It is fun for everyone.

Free Food Market: Once each month our partner organization Oregon Food Bank drops off pallets of food for us to distribute. Students receive customers and help them shop through the boxes and pick out any food that might be useful. This event strengthens our community, provides free food to anyone, with no questions asked, and helps students learn how to interact with the wider population. Plus they get to be outside for multiple hours, so it’s always a fun time!

Food Pantry: What was once a delivery program that saw a combination of our farm-grown produce, local surplus produce, and Oregon Food Bank donations delivered by the students to local community members in need has now been slowly shifting to becoming a stationary physical pantry that people can come and shop at. With our school’s new location will come the space to make this happen. As this program continues to morph into something that can best serve Damascus, students will continue to focus on skills like inventory, advertising, and all the things that come with operating an enterprise. In all of its forms, this pantry allows students the opportunity to learn about food security locally and globally, and to serve community members in ways that promote a complex understanding of health, food, and the world. It’s primary purpose is to be of service to the community; the learning that comes is secondary. It’s amazing!