Oswego High School's Care Closet offers clothing, household goods, and some food for OH families in need. Credit: Luna Diaz, 42Fifty
Oswego High School's Care Closet offers clothing, household goods, and some food for OH families in need. Credit: Luna Diaz, 42Fifty

The Kendall County Food Pantry and OHS Care Closet offer vital resources for individuals and families in need.    

The Kendall County Food Pantry provides groceries for families and those in need. They gather food donations through school drives in District 308.

On the other hand, the OHS Care Closet provides a valuable source of personal hygiene products, clothing, and other necessities that may be otherwise financially out of reach for some. 

Dr. Amy Howerton, one of the Care Closet sponsor and advisor of 42Fifty, commented, “The Oswego High School care closet has been around for a long time, and it is there to support students and their families for those who might have food insecurities or need some support with clothing or household items.”

These efforts both rely on the support of the community. They depend on donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations to provide essential resources to those in need. 

Kendall County Food Pantry

Kendall County Food Pantry, located in the heart of Yorkville, reflects the compassion of community care. The Pantry was established to combat food insecurity in the area, and since then, the Pantry has multiplied since its inception. 

One of the Pantry’s remarkable features is its emphasis on nutrition. It recognizes the importance of providing not just any food but wholesome and nourishing options.

According to Lauren Landando, a teacher at OHS and one of the few team members who organize and plan the food drive, “A food drive is an event designated to raise money and food to be donated to the food pantry.”

Oswego High School, as well as the entire school district 308, participates in food drives, which play a pivotal role in sustaining a community food pantry. 

During the fall of 2023, the district collected 266,839 total items. This year’s winners were Southbury Elementary, Oswego East High School, and Traughber Junior High School. 

Oswego High School’s Care Closet

While Kendall County Food Pantry serves the broader community, Oswego High School has established its version of community support known as the Care Closet. 

The Care Closet is a resource for students in need. Whether students require school supplies, winter coats, hygiene products, or non-perishable snacks, this service is available to anyone who requires assistance.

Dr. Howerton shares, “There was a family I worked with last year that requested some items together. The students were here. We had a parent, but they also had siblings in jr. high and elementary school. The parents wept and cried with joy and thanks when they came to pick up the materials in the security office. It was so powerful to me that we could support someone in their time of need.” 

Oswego High School’s commitment to fostering and nurturing an inclusive environment extends beyond the classroom; the Care Closet not only erases the burden on students facing difficult circumstances but also promotes a culture of empathy and understanding within the school community. 

Community Action 

Both Kendall County Food Pantry and Oswego High School’s Care Closet are living examples of how communities come together to support those in need.

“Our food drives offer an option to scan a QR code to donate just money, and one dollar is equivalent to eight items,” Landando comments.

However, she adds, “Running the food drive can be challenging, and this year was hard because we don’t have much school involvement.” 

Raising awareness about the Kendall County Food Pantry and Oswego High School’s Care Closet is vital for their continued success in aiding those in need. These two remarkable programs serve as lifelines of support in their communities and need all the help and involvement they can get. 

There is an online donation portal that individuals can use to donate food items to the Kendall County Food Pantry for anyone who wants to be involved. For any Care Closet information, people can fill out a Google form, accessed by a QR code throughout the school building.

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