Sam’s Supply helping needy at SBHS

Pam Vinson, Holly Kopplin, Pam Gies and Pam Anderson all gather in a space now known as Sam’s Supply at Sturgis Brown High School. This program was created to help SBHS students in times of need. Courtesy photo

STURGIS — Sturgis Brown High School students who find themselves in need of food, hygiene products, or even clothes are being helped through a program at the high school called Sam’s Supply.

The program was organized and Sam’s Supply is being staffed by SBHS secretarial staff members, Pam Anderson, Pam Gies, Pam Vinson and Holly Kopplin.

“Putting our heads together, we came up with Sam’s Supply, so that we can provide help to those students who are needing a little extra help. Along with food, we have basic hygiene supplies and a washer/dryer if students need some clothes washed,” Gies said.

Sam’s Supply is located in the former assistant principal’s office near the current high school office. The room was being used as storage.

In the past, if a student came to the office saying they were hungry, the staff had snacks to give them. 

“We would buy them and have them on hand,” Anderson said.

Students who find themselves in need taken to Sam’s Supply and are given a donated reusable cloth bag in which to “shop.” They are asked to return the empty bag so it can be used by other students.

“We’re really trying to get the word out to kids and parents that this is available, and to community members if they want to donate,” Anderson said.

Popular food items include macaroni and cheese as well as heat and eat complete meals with protein. The supply also has tuna meals, canned meals such as spaghetti, canned soups, Ramen and canned fruits and vegetables.

Hygiene items include toothpaste, shampoo, razors, feminine products, deodorant, and Chapstick.

Organizations around the Sturgis area have been willing to donate goods for students.

Among those who have donated include Sturgis VFW Auxiliary, PEO Chapter CN, Thrivent and the Sturgis Kiwanis Food Bank. Various individuals have also donated personal funds, food and supplies, said Anderson.

The organizers say they hope teachers will look out for the students they see struggling. If a student seems to be in need, teachers are asked to direct them to the office to look through Sam’s Supply for anything they may need.

 “We are relying on teachers and staff to help us to identify the students who could use a little bit of help,” Anderson said.

Students are expected to take advantage of this system, but use it as a useful resource.

“If a person needs help, we intend to support them hoping that people we assist are truly those in need. This is not a place for students to get their missed breakfast or an alternate lunch option, this is intended to help students with evening or weekend meals and hygiene supplies,” Anderson said.

According to Feeding America, more than 11 million children are facing hunger in the U.S. One in seven children don’t know when their next meal will be. Sam’s Supply is intended to help students who are facing this problem and more, the organizers say.

“It’s really tough for a student to focus when they are hungry or they don’t have clean clothes. We hope this effort will address that concern among our students,” Anderson said.

Deb Holland contributed to this story. Kiara Vetter is on the Sturgis Brown High School Newspaper, the Bear Butte Breeze’s staff.

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